Solo: more Star Bores than Star Wars (spoiler-free)

25 May
A young Han Solo and an already ancient Chewbacca in Solo: A Star Wars Story

A young Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich) and an already ancient Chewbacca in Solo: A Star Wars Story

Oh dear. This is the origin story of one of the most iconic characters in cinematic history? One that Lawrence Kasdan (who co-wrote Solo as a duo, with his son) has had 40 years to prepare for?

It’s by no means a bad film, despite the ill omens of the original directors leaving due to “creative differences” to make way for the solid, dependable but seldom inspired Ron Howard. But it is the worst so far in the Disney-era Star Wars franchise. I can’t think of a single stand-out scene that would make me grab a friend by the lapels and say, “you gotta see that!” It also returns uncomfortably to a past action era of “no consequences” – when a character suffers a tragic loss, it’s all forgotten by the next scene.

If, like me, you’re a Star Wars die-hard, you’ll see it anyway, so I won’t detail any of the plot – not that there are too many surprises to spoil. But here’s a thing that strikes me as curious. It has been said for some time that actors can get cast to some degree for their social media presence. But the casting of Solo: A Star Wars Story takes brand synergies to a whole new level. Look at it this way:

–Woody Harrelson (typically good as a cynical, “trust no one” adventurer) brings in the Hunger Games crowd.

–Thandie Newton (magnificent, if underused, as his partner in crime) adds a dash of Westworld appeal.

–Emilia Clarke (Han Solo’s love interest) brings in the fanatical Game of Thrones fan base.

–Paul Bettany (the bad guy) adds a dash of mighty Marvel.

–And Phoebe Waller-Bridge (great as an independent-minded robot)… well, she’s no franchise star, but Fleabag made her the coolest and edgiest woman on screen since Lena Dunham, so she brings Solo a hip transplant.

–As does the multi-talented Donald Glover (as Lando Calrissian), currently tearing up social media with his new Childish Gambino video.

A recipe for success, then, you’d think. Sadly, you’d be wrong.

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