We met the rogueish smuggler Han Solo for the fits time back in 1978, but what was his story before then? We know that he won the Millenium Falcon from Lando Alrisian in a card game, and we know that he did the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs. But what else is there to know about Han before Luke and Obi-Wan sought him out in Mos Eisley?
Personally, I enjoyed this addition to the Star Wars filmography much more than I did The Last Jedi. But it does have its faults. There are two big ones.
The worst thing about it is that it insists on telling us things about Han which we really don’t need to know because we’ve known them for 40 years. It’s as if they have compiled a list of everything about Han from A New Hope, and they are determined to tick them off one by one. It comes close to spoling the movie, because you’re constantly waiting for the next one to be ticked off.
Han is a bit off
And a combination of casting and writing means that Han is not quite right. The blame for this lies largely with Harrison Ford – Ford IS Han Solo, as much so in The Force Awakens as he was in A New Hope. Alden Ehrenreich tries hard and does well not to try to be a Ford impersonator, but it doesn’t quite work.
But the film has its own story with some good character dynamics between Han and close friend Qi’ra from his youth. Qi’ra (Emilia Clarke), smuggler Beckett (Woody Harrelson), crime boss Dryden Vos (Paul Bettany) and droid L3-37 (Phoebe Waller-Bridge) are all strong characters and great additions to Star Wars history. Han and Lando suffer by comparison, and Lando is actually quite unlikeable.
3D not recommended
The film, particularly in its early stages is often dark and dingy: 3D glasses make it difficult to see what is going on. This is a shame, because the visuals otherwise are well up to the expected Star Wars standards. And John Powell’s score picks out key motifs from John Williams source music and uses them emotionally.
As always, the advice is to see it and make your own mind up. I felt that it had a decent story with more than enough new stuff to keep me interested. I was aware of it ticking off points on a list, but it didn’t spoil it for me: for some, it will.