Film review: Solo: A Star Wars Story is nevertheless a tremendously enjoyable chapter

Alden Ehrenreich as Han Solo and Joonas Suotamo is Chewbacca in Solo: A Star Wars Story Picture: LUC

Alden Ehrenreich as Han Solo and Joonas Suotamo is Chewbacca in Solo: A Star Wars Story Picture: LUCASFILM LTD/JONATHAN OLLEY - Credit: Archant

With Ron Howard stepping forward to replace departing directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller and reports of substantial reshoots among its production difficulties, it would be fair to say that the expectation for the latest Star Wars spin-off was less than ecstatic.

Alden Ehrenreich as Han Solo in Solo: A Star Wars Story Picture: LUCASFILM LTD/JONATHAN OLLEY

Alden Ehrenreich as Han Solo in Solo: A Star Wars Story Picture: LUCASFILM LTD/JONATHAN OLLEY - Credit: Archant

However, despite lacking the depth and high stakes of some of the previous instalments, Howard’s film is a charming and thrilling delight.

The film focuses on the younger years of the titular space cowboy (Alden Ehrenreich) as he ventures into the galaxy’s criminal underworld.

As Han Solo Ehrenreich is superb. It is a performance that could easily have slipped into a one note, pale imitation of Harrison Ford; instead the actor fills Ford’s boots with wisecracking brio.

The supporting cast are equally impressive, particularly Woody Harrelson’s perfidious criminal Tobias Beckett and Paul Bettany’s scene-stealing, fiendish crime lord Dryden Vos.

It is Howard and screenwriters Lawrence and Jake Kasdan who are the film’s true heroes. Together they have crafted a slick and visually stunning film whose simple plot of Han, Beckett and Co perpetrating a heist for Vos is a refreshing break from the save the galaxy antics of previous instalments in the franchise.

Despite the film’s abundance of positive attributes, the fact that many of the characters’ fates are already well known means that there is no real sense of jeopardy facing the central protagonists.

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Solo: A Star Wars Story is nevertheless a tremendously enjoyable chapter in the ever-expanding Star Wars universe.

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