Synopsis: During an adventure into a dark criminal underworld, Han Solo meets his future copilot Chewbacca and encounters Lando Calrissian years before joining the Rebellion.
Review: Today saw the release of ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’ and as a long time Star Wars fan I was a little nervous going into this one. You see Han Solo has always been my favorite character and seeing a new actor in the role to play a younger version was something that I was a little nervous about and as such, I didn’t want to get my hopes up to much. Thankfully Alden Ehrenreich did a pretty good job and was respectful of the legacy of the character while making it his own.
The story starts on Hans homeworld of Corellia where we see him try to break his girlfriend Qi’ra away from an evil crime lord and winds up joining the Imperial Navy. But he promises Qi’ra he’ll return. So right away the audience is given a relationship to care about and we get to see that evolve and lead to new situations as the film progresses.
We have all the stories of Hans background here including the famous sabot game between Han and Lando as well as how Han meets Chewbacca and helps him escape from the Imperials. Note anyone who is a Star Wars fan will already know this stuff. So I don’t consider the above information as spoilers.
Emilia Clarke provides an interesting love interest for Han as Qi’ra and seems to be a girl that can definitely take care of herself. Her character does reconnect with Han after a couple of years have passed but by time they meet up again a lot of happened for both of them.
The film’s story doesn’t really pick up the pace until Han meets Beckett and his gang. Beckett who is played brilliantly by Woody Harrelson takes Han and Chewie under his wing and kind of mentors Han with a few tough life lessons. One of which comes back to bite Han later down the road.
Donald Glover is wonderfully cast as Lando and his onscreen scenes with the droid L3-37 who is voiced by Phoebe Waller-Bridge are a lot of fun. Especially given that L3 is somewhat of a droid revolutionary and very, very opinionated.
The basic story of the film is a heist movie, which has shades of the old west in it when it comes to the hive of scum and villainy that Han gets to interact within the criminal underworld. Specifically the Red Dawn Syndicate. In the film Han, Beckett and the gang have to steal some raw minerals for Dryden Vos who is played by Paul Bettany.
The film hits you with action set pieces from the outset. Starting with an awesome speeder chase through the streets of Correllia and onto the train heist, which we see featured in the trailer of the movie.
By and large, the film succeeds by telling us a story with interesting and flawed characters and it has its fair share of memorable moments. We have echoes of the John Williams score from Empire Strikes Back during the scenes where we get to see the Kessel run but for the most part, the film’s composer John Powell managed to leave his own mark on it.
Overall. I enjoyed this a whole lot more than I did ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’. There were not any stupid logic mistakes in the film’s plot and it in no way felt bloated. Sure the story has a few flaws. The main one being that it has perhaps been done many times before outside of the Star Wars universe. But this was a Star Wars version of a heist movie, which had the addition of a little romance as well as some interesting and fun backstory for Han. It actually adds to Han Solo’s legacy in a great way and even gives you a little more understanding of the very cynical anti-hero that we meet in ‘Star Wars: A New Hope’.
The last five minutes of the movie gives us some indication that there could well be more story to be told. Especially when it comes to the Red Dawn Syndicate and Qi’ru. As to whether we get to see that story play out in another film or maybe the live action series or new animated show as yet remains to be seen, but I hope we do get some payoff because a certain branch of fandom will go mental when they see the last five minutes.
In conclusion. The film works well as an extension of the current films but is also a great introduction for the new fan that has never heard of Han Solo. Obviously, this new portrayal is not as good as Harrison Ford, but it does stand up well on its own.
- Incidental Music9.5