Walt Disney Pictures and Lucasfilm, Ltd proudly presents Solo: A Star Wars Story, directed by Ron Howard. Space smuggler, Han Solo, from the Star Wars franchise has always been one of its most popular characters, so naturally, the time has come for Han Solo to receive a spin-off.
Taking on the iconic role of Han in this prequel is Alden Ehrenreich, who does an excellent job making the role his own. Like most fans, I had my dream pick for the iconic character of Han Solo. But, I must admit forty-five minutes into the film, Alden Ehrenreich’s take on Han Solo won me over. One of Ehrenreich’s strengths in his portrayal of Han was that he didn’t try to emulate Harrison Ford. Instead, Ehrenreich showcased the traits that made Han Solo a fan favorite, a reckless youth with a sharp, sarcastic wit to match.
One of the highlights of the movie, for me, was Han’s introduction to Chewbacca and Lando Calrissian. Han’s first time meeting with both Chewie and Lando answered questions that have plagued me for years regarding the Star Wars’ canon. I won’t reveal the questions and answers here, but I will say that I left the theater with a stronger appreciation for the original trilogy.
Joonas Suotamo and Donald Glover both shine in the roles of Chewie and Lando. To be honest, Suotamo and Glover steal nearly every scene. Suotamo portrays Chewie as a loyal and fierce sidekick, while Glover brings a modern day swagger to Lando.
The rest of the supporting cast was decent in their roles. Emilia Clarke stars as Qi’ra, Han’s love interest/childhood friend. Qi’ra’s brief fight scene in the film brought a smile to my face. While Woody Harrelson portrays Tobias Beckett, Han’s mentor, who initially wants nothing to do with him.
Despite substantial work from the cast, Solo: A Star Wars Story does have its share of flaws. It’s no secret that Solo: A Star Wars Story had its share of trouble behind the scenes. Ron Howard was the replacement of the original directors, and it shows. At times, Solo: A Star Wars Story comes off as a cash grab as opposed to a labor of love. There were certain aspects of the film where it should have taken a different angle. Sadly, Solo: A Star Wars Story is predictable.
The writing team of Johnathan and Lawrence Kasdan wrote a by-the-numbers script. I was hoping for a bit more, giving Lawrence Kasdan’s history with the Star Wars franchise. The script by the Kasdans was missing something. While there are some impressive action sequences and plenty of humorous moments, nothing from the film stuck with me. I also found the development of the antagonist to be underwritten.
While Solo: A Star Wars Story does have its flaws, there is an awe-inspiring moment towards the end of the film which saves it. The return of a classic villain from the Star Wars canon is a very welcome surprise, and hopefully, it’s a sign of things to come in the sequel.
Solo: A Star Wars Story isn’t a total misfire as it succeeds as a summer popcorn film. However, as a Star Wars film, Solo: A Star Wars Story was a bit of a letdown. The last three Star Wars films weren’t afraid to take chances with their narrative, which is part of the reason why I enjoyed them. Solo: A Star Wars Story plays it safe and ends up forgotten once the credits roll.
Final Grade: C+