Solo's star fails to shine
NOT such a long time ago, the release of a new Star Wars movie was a big deal. Now, not so much.
Disney and Lucasfilm have been pumping out a new film every year for the past four years, with the most recent, the divisive Last Jedi, released just five months ago.
It's no wonder Solo - the origin story of Han Solo that fans never really wanted in the first place - is underperforming at the box office.
The film kicks off with Han (Alden Ehrenreich) and his girlfriend Qi'ra (Emilia Clarke) attempting to escape their crime boss master on the planet Corellia.
Han, who dreams of being a pilot, makes it out by signing up with the Imperial Navy. Qi'ra is captured, but Han promises to come back for her.
Three years later, Han is stuck serving as an infantryman when he encounters a gang of criminals planning a score and a Wookiee named Chewbacca.
This could be his chance to get back to Corellia to rescue Qi'ra... but things don't quite turn out that way.
Okay, first things first - Star Wars fans were never going to have an easy time accepting anyone other than Harrison Ford as Han Solo.
Making matters worse, while Alden Ehrenreich is usually a good actor, he seems to be phoning it in as young Han, with barely any sign of the charisma that Ford brought to the role.
Much more interesting is Woody Harrelson, who puts in a great performance as Han's mentor Tobias Beckett. Even Emilia Clarke is pretty good.
The film itself isn't that bad really, especially considering the torturous road it took to the screen - most of the footage had to be reshot after the original directors were dropped for (allegedly) going off script and making it too much of a comedy.
There's a few of their comedic touches left, but Solo: A Star Wars Story is a pretty by-the-numbers affair for the most part. It covers all the plot points fans would expect - Han meets Chewie, Han meets Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover), Han wins the Millennium Falcon, Han does the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs, etc, etc.
It's a fun enough adventure, but it's pretty unnecessary - and it's hard to escape the feeling that Disney is just milking the franchise for money at this point.
Hopefully next year's Episode IX will be an improvement.
SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY
Starring: Alden Ehrenreich, Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover, Woody Harrelson
Reviewer: Matthew Pearce
Rating: Three stars