Solo: A Star Wars Story review
It looks like we've gotten to a point in which Disney wants to explore parts of the galaxy that is Star Wars. So as side stories outside of the prequel, original, and current trilogies, where to they go? Anything connected to nostalgia of course! I'm aware that tons of Star Warsmaterial has been produced (novels, video games, toys, cartoons, etc…) that have explored other planets and characters that don't even connect with the main story. Disney however wants to make sure that a mainstream audience will be just as curious and not want to stream too far. So when plans were announced for a Han Solo movie, people seemed mixed to the idea.
Now Han Solo is not a bad character. In fact, he's a favorite for a lot of people. He's your typical cowboy scoundrel that's the definition of a real person in a science fiction. But with the original movies, you already get an idea of what this guy is and what his life was like before everything happened. That's not to say a Han Solo movie would be pointless. It would be interesting to see what made him in that manner and how is morals were set up. Let's see if Solo: A Star Wars Storycan justify that.
Set several years before A New Hope, a young Han (played by Alden Ehrenreich) is a slave-runaway on a shipbuilding planet where he dreams of escaping with his childhood friend/love interest Qu'ra (played by Emilia Clarke). Though he manages to get through the Empire's security, Qu'ra is captured and taken away. He vows to come back for her and enlists in the Empire's army in order to learn flying. His goal is to get good enough to get his own ship and fly wherever he wants.
His time in the army helps him meet with Chewbacca and Tobias Beckett (played by woody Harrelson). Tobias is a criminal with his own group who offers Han and Chewbacca a chance to earn money in a train robbery. The mission goes wrong, and the group is forced to return to explain. This leads him to a local crime lord Dryden (played by Paul Bettany) who is won over by Han's persuasion to steal from another source. Han and Chewbacca receive assistance from a smuggler, Lando Calrissian (played by Donald Glover) who flies them in the Millennium Falconto their next heist.
What’s a shame is that Solo: A Star Wars Storyseems to have an idea that could have been great, but gets lost in the countless other stories trying to take off. To start off, though he's not my first choice, I think that Alden Ehrenreich does well as Han Solo. He may not look a lot like him, but he does a good job recreating Harrison Ford's mannerisms and his sauvé presence. Chewbacca and Emilia Clarke as Qi'ra are adequate. Like a lot of people, I too enjoyed Donald Glover as Lando. He has such a mysterious nature that makes him both intriguing and frightening. So if the characters and motivations are there, what's wrong?
The story is whats the matter…or at least the latter part of it. At first, things go fine with Han getting off the planet, joining the army, meeting Chewbacca, and the train robbery. It's what happens afterwards that’s the problem. Without spoiling anything, a character he was going to return home for shows up. While it's surprising, it makes you realize that the movie has nothing left for Han's emotional arc. Without his personal motivation to drive the story, everything remains on autopilot.
From that point, your already aware of what's going to happen based on Han's personality from the original trilogy. I kept expecting something to happen to him, but what does alter the story is happening to the side characters like Qi'ra, Lando or Tobias. What does their actions and motivations have to do with how Han is shaped in the original trilogy? Does that make the movie completely boring? Not completely, as there are a fair amount of action sequences that not only echo the other Star Wars movies and even classic westerns in general. I guess it only matters what your expecting.
I'll give this three Millennium Falcon ships out of five. If your only going in for a passable Star Wars action movie, you'll probably get some enjoyment. But you really have to understand that everything that happens does little for Hans Solo as a character. While I have a bad feeling about this, it has it's moments.