Focusing on a young Han Solo, set ten years before the events of a New Hope, Solo: A Star Wars story is the second spinoff from Lucasfilm that is not following the main Skywalker trilogy. As I’m sure you know, this movie has had a troubled production. Kathleen Kennedy fired both of the directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller halfway through production, leaving Ron Howard to come in and reshoot 80% of the film. I’m a fan of Ron Howard; he’s done some great movies (Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind) and some not so great ones (The DA Vinci Codes films, which could have been a lot better). I’ve been cautiously optimistic about this film, knowing that Alden Ehrenreich is a really great actor even though no one can be better than Harrison Ford as Han Solo but I was at least open to the idea that someone could do great in the role.
This movie is fine. It’s not the greatest Star Wars movie to ever been released and it’s not the worse. There’s nothing awfully terrible about it like Jar Jar but it never reaches the greatness of what we know Star Wars can be. Ron Howard did the best he could to save the movie under the circumstances and it’s pretty entertaining and the actors all do fine for the material they’re given. The storytelling is a bit messy and wonky, especially in the first act. It really does feel like a couple of directors came on to the project and this is the product we got. I didn’t really feel the Star Wars energy that I felt watching the Last Jedi. It wasn’t as exciting or as memorable or there wasn’t much that stood out to me that was mind-blowing. It goes through the motions and there’s barely any risk taken.
Alden does a great job as Han Solo. He captures the spirit of the smuggler and the cockiness and the swagger really well. The new actor that plays Chewie is great in the role and we see Chewbaca do some stuff that he has never done before because Peter Maywhew was never able to in the original trilogy or after. Maywhew and Harrison Ford are no longer in Star Wars, which is kind of sad but it’s life.
Donald Glover is perfect as Lando. He’s smooth, a ladies man, and totally has the Lando persona. The rest of the supporting cast is decent. Woody Harrelson does what Woody does. Emilia Clarke is pretty good as Q’ira and she has really good chemistry with Alden. Thandie Newton was probably one of my favorite characters in the film, but I do wish we could have gotten more of her as Val. She’s not in the movie a lot, but she’s great and her dynamic with Woody worked really well on screen. There’s also an awesome cameo that made my draw drop the first time I saw it; it was so unexpected that it almost made the entire movie for me. It connected the entire canon of Star Wars in such a huge monumental way I loved it.
I wanted more of character interactions and character development in Solo. We barely get to know more about Han even though the movie is about him and there are some things we didn’t want to know that we do get to learn, so there’s that. But it doesn’t ruin anything that comes after it, which is good. It is what it is and there’s nothing outright offensive about this film thank god.
Was this movie absolutely necessary? No. It wasn’t but it was entertaining while it lasted. I found the legends books by A.C. Crispen so much better though, which is a damn shame. I love those books so much and I knew that this movie wasn’t going to replicate that, but it didn’t even come close.
Overall, Solo: A Star Wars story is a decent film that is pretty entertaining and does offer some good performances even though it might not have been totally necessary in the first place.