Review: Solo: A Star Wars Story

The events of this movie take place long before Luke Skywalker and Ben Kenobi sit down in a bar at Mos Isley to discuss passage and payment to the Alderaan system. The events of this movie take place prior to the daring undertaking of Jyn Erso and a band of rebels to steal the battle plans of the Empire’s most powerful weapon. Before he shot Greedo, before he was in the employ of Jabba the Hut, the story of Han Solo started with a young bandit on the streets of Corellia who looked up at the sky and dreamed of flying away from it all with his girl and never looked back.

solo

Image by Lucasfilm

Solo: A Star Wars Story follows a young adult Han Solo and traces his path from a Scrumrat thief who had to steal to survive, to washout pilot in the Imperial Navy, fugitive, aspiring outlaw, to the smuggler he will one day be and sheds light on the characters who will aid him in his origin adventure. This movie tells the story of why Han dared to dream to fly, to how he met his friend and wingman Chewbacca, the figures who taught him the tricks and trades of the outlaw, how he crossed paths with his friend/swindler Lando Calrissian, and how he came to be in the pilot seat of the Millennium Falcon.

I’ve kept my eye on this film for a long time and followed the reports of this production as best I could. I recalled hearing at some point that the executives claimed that this film was unwatchable, that the leading man Alden Ehrenreich was doomed to fail in this role, how then-directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller were leading this film to disaster and there had to be extensive reshoots, which led to Lord and Miller out and Ron Howard taking over as director.

I feared the worst for Solo: A Star Wars Story but I was surprised by how smooth and solid the finished product of this movie was. I felt that this movie took a practical and straightforward approach to the origin story of one of Star Wars’ most pivotal characters, answering any questions I had with grounded and nuanced approach by adding some dash of surprise every now and then and I must say that this film is a success!

I’m not sure what direction Phil Lord and Chris Miller wanted to take this movie but I think Ron Howard was the right choice to pilot this picture. Jonathan and Lawrence Kasdan crafted a story for Han Solo’s origins that is well put together, funny, smart, exciting and appealing for audiences who love the Star Wars franchise.

Alden Ehrenreich may have been a surprise choice for this role and he will never truly replace Harrison Ford as Han Solo, but he does a very good job by this character. At times, you can see that he just embodies the scoundrel Han Solo is and I think he may make Harrison Ford proud! The guy who really steals the show is Donald Glover, who steps into the skin of Lando Calrissian and knocks it out of the park; Billy Dee Williams must be as equally proud of Glover for doing his character justice.

Joonas Suotamo, Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Thandie Newton, Paul Bettany, the voices of Jon Favreau and Linda Hunt, Ian Kenny, John Tui, the cast across the board are very good in their roles.

John Powell’s score was very refreshed and exciting, Bradford Young cinematography is excellent, Pietro Scalia’s editing is impeccable, Neil Lamont’s production design was solid, the art direction is vivid, the costumes designed by David Crossman and Glyn Dillon are very smart, the makeup is high caliber and the visual effects are about as good as it gets for a Star Wars feature.

Going into Solo: A Star Wars Story, I thought we were getting into a junkpile that had no chance of liftoff but what made this movie soar was the love and determination necessary to not only get it airborne and space worthy but to really make it soar through the stars! There’s no mistake that this movie hits its mark!

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