The younger years of notorious pilot Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich) as he finds friendship with Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo) and Lando (Donald Glover) are played out against a crime story encompassing some of the legendary moments in the characters life.
Disney’s second standalone Star Wars story had an even more troubled production than Rogue One with its original directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller replaced with Ron Howard and the majority of already filmed material reportedly binned. Thankfully though, there is no obvious signs on screen of the troubled shoot. The tone remains the same throughout and the story and action sequences are accomplished.
The story takes in Solo’s first love, Qi’ra (Emilia Clarke), his initiation into a criminal crew led by Beckett (Woody Harrelson) and their attempts to satisfy a crime overlord in Dryden Voss (Paul Bettany). It zips along at pace with some fun action sequences and a large number of references to the characters and events we know and love from the Star Wars films.
Ehrenreich does an exceptional job of bringing a younger version of Han to the screen. His charisma and smile light up the screen and his delivery of some knowing lines are fantastic.
Despite a number of new interesting characters and a double crossing crime heist story the film never truly soars. All the constituent parts are intriguing or interesting in their own way and it’s certainly a lot of fun, but the wow factor isn’t there. Perhaps there is an element of surprise lost given we know roughly how things will pan out, but that never stopped Rogue One being a gripping film. If I could put my finger on anything it would be the central relationship between Han and Qi’ra and the threat from Dryden Voss not quite convincing.
Only high expectations should hamper you enjoying this for what it is though, a crime caper story set in the Star Wars universe.