Solo: A Star Wars Story Movie Review: When it was announced that the second Star Wars spin-off film would revolve around a young Han Solo, the overall reaction was mixed. There were some who loved the idea, but there were many others who were completely against it because we already had a young Han Solo in the original trilogy. Still, the film moved forward with directing duo Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, who casted Hail, Caesar! breakout star, Alden Ehrenreich, as Han Solo. Eventually, after filming a huge portion of the film, Lord and Miller left the project over “creative differences”, which then opened the door for Ron Howard to step in and complete the film. For a while, it felt like Solo: A Star Wars Story would never get here, but despite its many troubles it has finally arrived.
Solo: A Star Wars Story is an origin story of sorts that details the journey that led Han Solo to become the smuggler we know from the original Star Wars film. The story begins with Han and Qi’ra (Emilia Clarke) attempting to escape their crime-riddled planet of Corellia. They get close to escaping together, but become separated leaving only Han with the ability to escape. Han promises to do whatever he has to in order to return for her, and thus the story begins. Everything he does from this point forward revolves around Qi’ra and Han’s drive to fulfill his promise. In the duration of this journey, we see both new and familiar faces. Han’s journey unites him with Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo) and depicts his meeting with Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover). We are also introduced to his first real mentor in Tobias Beckett, played wonderfully by Woody Harrelson. Paul Bettany stars as the villainous Dryden Vos, the man who is partly responsible for bringing together this wild group of misfits.
Alden Ehrenreich is tasked with the seemingly impossible task of portraying one of the most iconic characters in cinematic history. It’s an insane responsibility to ask of anyone. Ehrenreich had to be extremely careful to not come across as a Harrison Ford impersonator. Naturally, many were worried that he just would not be able to pull this off, but Ehrenreich accomplishes the unthinkable. He carries himself with such confidence that he completely makes the character his own. Ehrenreich’s Han Solo is one full of youthful recklessness and determination, but also a certain sense of naivety that Ford’s Solo never really had. It is truly remarkable to see how well Ehrenreich was able to handle this character.
It’s not just Ehrenreich’s performance that deserves praise. Every character in this film was well casted and wonderfully developed. Donald Glover was perfectly cast as Lando, and it is a joy to watch him and Ehrenreich go back and forth throughout the film. He is flashy and full of swagger that makes him a delight to watch on the screen. Woody Harrelson as the seasoned smuggler, Tobias, is one of those casting decisions that just makes sense. He brings the same amount of cynicism that we see in Harrison Ford’s portrayal of Han. This makes sense given that Tobias serves as a mentor to this young Han Solo. Much like with Ehrenreich, Emilia Clarke’s Qi’ra is a character that leaves you wanting to see more of her in future films. She has so many layers and it is a shame that we didn’t to spend more time with her, but the film does set her up a world of possibilities for her. Lastly, Paul Bettany’s Dryden Vos was the perfect type of villain for this type of film. He’s certainly powerful, but not in a Darth Vader type of way. He is a manageable task for someone who isn’t a Jedi.
Director Ron Howard also deserves high praise for what he was able to accomplish, especially after having come in to this project during the last few weeks of shooting. Solo embraces its Western roots more so than any other Star Wars film, and turns into a thrilling heist film that is jam-packed with fun action. It is a visual feast that continues to expand a universe that appears to be endless. Everything from the designs of the characters to that of the various worlds we visit is a wonder to look at. The best part about Solo, however, is how much it truly feels like its own story. The stakes are different than they are in any of the other Star Wars films. The events here don’t have major universe-altering implications. It takes place on a smaller scale, which allows for a more fun and personal story.
As fun as Solo is, it is not a perfect film. For one, it does take a while to really get going. The film is strongest when Han has his crew to interact with, but getting there is a slow and dull process. The result is a film that is twenty minutes too long. Another problem that the film faces is that a lot of the action feels inconsequential. The problem with having so many familiar faces is that you know they are never in any real danger. While the action is fun to see, it’s hard to ignore the fact that we know the main characters are all safe.
Solo: A Star Wars Story may be one of the least anticipated in the franchise, but it doesn’t mean it’s one of the worst. On the contrary, it is one of the most fun in the franchise. There are plenty of surprises that will please those who have followed the franchise, and there are certain twists that were quite surprising. The film does suffer a bit due to its pacing and lack of danger, but it doesn’t make the overall experience a bad one. Solo is a very good film that has earned its place among the ever-expanding juggernaut that is the Star Wars universe.
|Solo: A Star War Story|
|DIRECTOR:||Phil Lord, Christopher Miller, Ron Howard|
|GENRE:||Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Adventure,|
|RELEASE DATE:||May 25 2018|