In a galaxy far, far away – California – movie executives decided to expand the Star Wars universe.
Not only were the hungry hordes of fans to be treated to a new trilogy continuing the Star Wars storyline, there were also to be several standalone films.
We got the first, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story back in 2016 and it was almost universally loved.
Now, we’ve got the second standalone adventure – Solo: A Star Wars Story, an origin tale of sorts for the much-loved Han Solo, played by Harrison Ford in the original trilogy and The Force Awakens.
The film encountered plenty of troubles before making it to the screen – original directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller (the guys behind the 21 Jump Street reboot and The Lego Movie) were fired and replaced with veteran director Ron Howard (A Beautiful Mind).
So, with the expectations of millions of fans weighing on his shoulders, was Howard able to deliver a winner?
Well, he didn’t deliver a loser, but he didn’t really deliver a winner either.
Solo is fun, for the most part and there’s nothing wrong with it, it’s just nothing special. It’s as generic a Star Wars movie as you can get.
The film follows a young Han from his home planet to his time with a crew of hired thieves, before the events of A New Hope.
Arlen Ehrenreich – the best thing about 2016’s Hail Ceasar! – steps into Ford’s well-worn shoes as the title character and he is just as charming and self-assured as you’d expect.
Game of Thrones’ Emilia Clarke, True Detective’s Woody Harrelson, Westworld’s Thandie Newton and Avengers’ Paul Bettany all co-star in the film.
But the best character, easily, is Lando Calrissian.
Played by Billy Dee Williams in the original trilogy, Solo sees the smuggler portrayed by man-of-the-moment Donald Glover (also known as Childish Gambino, his rapping alter-ego).
Glover is the embodiment of cool, and the film becomes much more exciting as soon as he’s introduced.
There’s also a new droid, L3 (voiced by Phoebe Waller-Bridge), who is entertaining and a bit of an activist.
However, she won’t be garnering a fanbase like R2-D2 or BB-8.