Movie review: Solo: A Star Wars Story
It is hard not to judge this without taking into consideration the legacy Harrison Ford has left behind.
Let's be honest: No one else can be Han Solo.
That is a fact.
To Alden Ehrenreich's credit, he is not all that bad.
He has much courage to take on the really tough role of portraying one of cinema's most iconic characters.
He makes an adequate leading actor - likeable and rather charming, though not in Ford's roguish manner. However, his smirks and body language often come across as mimicry. Sporting the iconic Han Solo outfit also does not make him the man.
My main beef is that there is no sense of originality despite it being an origin story.
It goes to show that you cannot teach an old dog new tricks.
Screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan is a Star Wars veteran (he wrote Episodes V, VI and VII), and though he is joined by new blood, his son Jonathan, the story does not try much to deviate from what we have already learnt from the earlier Star Wars movies.
I had several deja vu moments, especially during the supposedly prime action sequences.
After the thrilling start where Han tries to escape from his nightmarish home in Corellia, the pace flatlines. There are no ups or downs. The characters are devoid of much emotion or consequence, especially after meeting with a major loss.
Paul Bettany's mob boss Dryden Vos is said to be one of the most feared men in the galaxy, but this villain has no bite.
Moreover, chemistry between characters is absent, so how do you expect moviegoers to connect with them?
Han and Qi'ra are long-time lovers, but there is zero spark between the actors. Emilia Clarke should remain on the small screen with her Game Of Thrones dragons because she is really the weakest link here.
Thankfully, two relationships work - Han and his Wookiee buddy Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo), and Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover) and his droid companion L3-37 (a hilarious Phoebe Waller-Bridge).
How Han and Chewie meet is funny and endearing, and you get the warm, fuzzy feeling when both take their places in the Millennium Falcon.
As expected, Glover shines brightly as the flamboyant Lando. I would love to see a spin-off story of this man and his many colourful cloaks.