**WARNING: THE FOLLOWING POST INCLUDES SPOILERS FOR SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY. IF YOU’VE NOT WATCHED SOLO AND YOU WANT TO REMAIN SPOILER-FREE THEN DO NOT CONTINUE READING THIS POST. AND YES, I DID GO AND SEE ONE OF THOSE CRAZY-EARLY SCREENINGS. I SAT IN A CINEMA AT 4AM. YES, IT WAS PRACTICALLY EMPTY. YES, I AM A LITTLE BIT INSANE.**

So, I’ve just come out of a screening for Solo: A Star Wars Story having decided, very last minute, to attend an early morning screening. I love Star Wars, but something about Solo just wasn’t getting me all that excited, so I almost hung fire on watching this movie until the weekend.

Did I make the right call going early?

Well, that depends on if you think sitting in an empty cinema at 4am is the right call or not?!

You don’t have to answer that question.

So, onto the film. Well, my expectations for Solo were pretty low. I was one of those people who felt the film was unnecessary; that it was being released at the wrong time; that the marketing was bad; and so on. Having now seen the movie I can honestly say that I was pleasantly surprised.

Was it unnecessary? Well, let’s deal with this straight away.

Solo: A Star Wars Story is not a key piece of the Star Wars mythology. If you miss this movie you will not be missing a Saga changing/defining story. However, if you miss this movie you will be missing out on a great adventure.

Rather than being an important cog in the Star Wars machine, Solo: A Star Wars Story is a fun deviation, which offers up a few added extras along the way. What’s wrong with that?

For fans of the Saga, as well as fans of the wider Star Wars mythology, there are neat little nods here and there (Aurra Sing, Teräs Käsi etc) and a couple of cameos (Warwick Davis) which should sit well with those who get the references, but for casual audiences there’s a decent heist movie with plenty of laughs.

One of the main talking points ahead of the release of Solo: A Star Wars Story was how would lead actor, Alden Ehrenreich fair stepping into the shoes of Han Solo? Once again, I’m happy to report he fairs pretty damn well.

Ehrenreich does not try to recreate Harrison Ford’s performance as a (slightly) younger Han. Instead, he does his own thing and it works very well. Surprisingly well in fact – to the point where you stop caring that this isn’t Ford and you start enjoying this new take on the part instead.

And that’s ultimately what this is – a new take. While the story may not need to be told, there’s enough new material here to make this worth a watch. It also sets a precedent for new Star Wars movies that can exist without the need to be so tightly tied to the Skywalker Saga.

Newcomers, such as Enfys Nest – who turns out not to be the villain – and L3-37 are great new additions to the Star Wars mythology, and in the case of Nest, I’d happily watch more from her. Meanwhile, Emilia Clarke, Woody Harrelson, Joonas Suotamo, Donald Glover and Paul Bettany all round out an engaging cast.

Do we need to know that Han Solo got his name by being a bit of a loner? No.

Do we need to see Han & Lando play another game of Sabacc? Not really – but it’ll probably happen if we get more of these Solo movies.

Would I watch another Solo movie? Yes – yes, I would.

Solo: A Star Wars Story leaves just enough wiggle room to fit in another adventure (presumably with Jabba the Hutt) before we pick things back up in A New Hope. Again, this might not be a necessary addition to the Star Wars Saga, but it doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be fun to watch.

The point is, this is a film which wants to draw you in with the references you are familiar with, but then just simply wants you to have a good time. It’s not a film that is going to stir things up.

Will this be a problem for Lucasfilm/Disney, when trying to get bums on seats? Yeah, probably.

My feelings towards the release date of this movie and the way it has been marketed, still stand. I do feel this film has come out too soon after Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) and I do feel like the marketing campaign has been a little off and this will hurt the box office returns for this film.

While I was at the cinema this morning I asked the manager how popular the midnight/early morning screenings had been and the response was that they just weren’t that popular at all. The midnight screening had ushered in a fair few people, but nothing like previous Star Wars movies and the early morning screenings were practically dead.

Having sat in the 4am screening with just two other people, I can confirm that the interest for this movie isn’t quite where it could or perhaps should be. But that still doesn’t change the end result of the film.

Personally, I think Solo: A Star Wars Story is an enjoyable ride, with great characters and a decent enough story to pack out the running time. It probably won’t entice non-Star Wars fans into the cinema, but it should please those that have had concerns.