Review: Solo: A Star Wars Story

Solo: A Star Wars Story features Woody Harrelson as Tobias Beckett, Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian, Emilia Clarke as Qi’ra, Joonas Suotamo as Chewbacca, Phoebe Waller-Bridge as L3-37 and Alden Ehrenreich as our favorite smuggler, Han Solo.

The following will be a non-spoiler review on what I thought of the film.

Being a big Star Wars fan, even when I heard about this Han Solo movie, I wasn’t sold. There’s something about what Disney has committed to thus far with these ‘A Star Wars Story’ films that I’m not on board with. I was looking forward to more isolated stories within the Star Wars universe that didn’t nearly connect as much to the saga films. It’s a tired complaint that many have made, but it’s a large universe, I want to see more of it.

Rogue One provided us with new information that directly impacted the events of A New Hope and I honestly didn’t mind the ret-con in having the weakness in the Death Star purposely included. When I watch A New Hope now, it does remind me of Galen, Jyn, Cassian, K2 and the rest went through in Rogue One and it enhances my feelings on how things play out.

Han Solo is different.

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Alden Ehrenreich may not be Harrison Ford, but he does a fine job playing our favorite smuggler.

It’s one thing to follow a band of rebels stealing the Death Star plans, but Han is one of our main characters and Harrison Ford would obviously not be reprising his younger self. It didn’t help that there was turmoil during filming leading directors to be switched out after most of the film was already shot. There just didn’t seem to be confidence in the project and it added to my feelings of ‘why do we need this film?’

Do I need to see exactly how Han wins the Falcon from Lando? Do I care how he got his DL-44 blaster pistol? Do I need to see the Kessel Run? I liked that Han was mysterious. I liked that he very likely exaggerated his own mythos because, well, he’s Han. I was also concerned about placement in the timeline. If they drifted too far towards A New Hope, we would need to see the same grizzled, pessimistic, shoot first Han that we see.

I saw Solo: A Star Wars Story last night and the general feeling I had was that… this is fine.

One of the major complaints that had gone around the internet after hearing Alden speak in trailers was that he just didn’t sound like Han. That never really bothered me. I didn’t really want a Harrison Ford impersonator. We already know it’s not the same guy, I’m okay with some freedom and liberty considering this is a younger version of the Han we all know and love.

Alden did a good job as Han Solo. I felt that throughout the film, there were flashes of the Han from the original trilogy, but there’s a different light that’s still in this younger version of Han. He’s more optimistic and hasn’t nearly gone through enough strife to arrive at Harrison Ford’s Han Solo, and I liked that.

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Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian along with his droid L3-37 voiced by Phoebe Waller-Bridge.

You may have heard some praise of Donald Glover’s portrayal as Lando Calrissian, and it’s well deserved. I’m not sure that I need a full feature film just of Lando, but his addition as a supporting character here was well done and lots of fun.

The supporting cast does a great job as well. Lando’s droid, L3-37 is fantastic and I enjoyed every bit of seeing her on screen. Emilia Clarke, who I’m usually critical of, is believable as Qi’ra, Paul Bettany is threatening enough as villain Dryden Voss and Woody Harrelson really just feels like he’s playing himself all the time now, but that’s not a terrible thing either.

I did have one thought about these droids that we are seeing in the newer films. In Rogue One and now Solo, we have K-2SO and L3-37, droids that are incredibly personal, have their own unique AI’s, are versatile, fast, strong and imposing. It’s a weird transition going from watching modern film droids, then seeing R2-D2 struggle with most movements in the original trilogy.

They didn’t do themselves any favors with R2 in the prequel trilogy either because we see him walking up stairs, fly with rockets on his legs and more. I will say that Solo does a good job of droid throwbacks to bridge that gap, but it can still be jarring to think about.

There were a few things that seemed a bit off. Some of the fan service moments, and how they explain the origin of some of the Han Solo mythos questions don’t land for me. And while I thoroughly enjoy the beginning of Han and Chewie’s relationship, it did feel like their brotherhood grew exponentially for the film only spanning a few days.

All in all, it was fine. I enjoyed watching it in theaters and considering the behind the scenes issues, I’m surprised that the end product was as smooth as it was. It looks like a question that Star Wars fans will have to begin to answer over time is wondering if ‘fine’ is enough for Star Wars films. Does it take away from how great the original trilogy was? Do yearly Star Wars films take away from the excitement of the saga films?

We’ll see how far things go and if Disney makes adjustments. Maybe they’ll drift away from these ‘A Star Wars Story’ films to focus on the two new trilogies they have plan…Oh wait, now we have a Boba Fett film?

To check out more from me; I Wasn’t Prepared For This

 

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