Cast: Alden Ehrenreich, Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover
Director: Ron Howard
Synopsis from Rotten Tomatoes: Board the Millennium Falcon and journey to a galaxy far, far away in Solo: A Star Wars Story, an all-new adventure with the most beloved scoundrel in the galaxy. Through a series of daring escapades deep within a dark and dangerous criminal underworld, Han Solo meets his mighty future copilot Chewbacca and encounters the notorious gambler Lando Calrissian, in a journey that will set the course of one of the Star Wars saga’s most unlikely heroes.
Solo, the 10th theatrical installment of the Star Wars universe, tells us the origin story of the galaxy’s favorite scruffy-looking nerf herder, Han Solo (Ehrenreich). As we learn the origins of one of the most notorious characters in film history, the real question I ended up asking myself was, “is this all necessary?” I am pretty fond of the Star Wars movies, but I felt as though I was given answers to questions that I never asked before this movie. While the action sequences are nicely shot with superb effects and acting to add to it, a jumbled third act weigh down an otherwise solid movie.
The film starts us off on Han’s home planet of Corellia, where Han and friend Qi’ra (Clarke) attempt to escape and explore the galaxy. After their escape plan goes wrong, Han must do whatever it takes to reunite with Qi’ra. Starting off with what the positives, the acting is absolutely spot on. Ehrenreich channels all of the charm and charisma that Harrison Ford had when he played Han in the original trilogy. One of the main things I was worried about with this film was that a relatively inexperienced actor like Ehrenreich would freeze up on a stage like this, but holds his own and is able to add to an already deeply complex and intriguing character. In the supporting cast, Lando (Glover) is portrayed in the exact way that I would imagine a young Landon to act and say. Glover’s performance is so smoothed out and suave that and he plays the role of an underground crime lord like an absolute professional. Glover truly has the best performance of the film and I am glad that he is now a part of the Star Wars universe. Outside of that, the action sequences are stunning to look and do an excellent job of moving the plot along. Throughout the film, we are subject to a very dark and gritty reality on many of these planets and the action sequences shot on these planets are incredibly well shot and choreographed in a very fluid manner. All of these scenes do an excellent job of creating tension and consequence and you feel as though every second of the scene matters.
Where the film starts to falter is in the third act. The plot gets incredibly messy as all of the main cast has their own motivations and objectives that need to be explored in a short period of time. Up until this point, the group was working together well and everyone was on the same page regarding the plan. As the film tries to wrap itself up though, everyone decides to act in their own interests. It is hinted that realistically everyone is only looking out for themselves, but with everyone making deals and then crossing those deals and then faking out the crossing gets very confusing after a while. At a certain point I had no idea who was supposed to be working with who and I was not sure if that was the intention of the movie or not. Outside of the third act, the only other thing that I did not like was the inclusion of Lando’s robot L3-37 (Phoebe Waller-Bridge). Her role in the film is to be a voice for robots that are treated as less than the human or alien characters in the universe. The thing about the Star Wars universe is that there are many instances of othering in multiple films that show us we need to treat others with respect in our world. Even earlier in the film, Han and Qi’ra are orphans and are looked down upon at the orphanage for being poor and without parents. Star Wars constantly tries to input class or race issues into their more recent films, and while I am in no way opposed to their inclusion, they have not been able to effectively make their point without sacrificing the story.
Overall, I believe if Solo was not attached to the Star Wars universe, people would think it is a solid movie and would be praising the performances and action. People are suffering from Star Wars fatigue, especially after the mixed audience reaction to The Last Jedi, and as a result, Solo will suffer both critically and financially. Personally, I enjoyed the movie and believe that it is intriguing adventure that follows complex and interesting characters in a high-stakes race around the galaxy.
Overall Score: 7/10