During an adventure into a dark criminal underworld, Han Solo meets his future copilot Chewbacca and encounters Lando Calrissian years before joining the Rebellion.
Han Solo is one of the most iconic movie characters in cinematic history so his origin story was always going to be a tough challenge to get right, and ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’ has had its fair share of production problems including a change in directors, which doesn’t generally bode well. The story is set between episodes III and IV and follows Han’s adventures before he joins up with Luke Skywalker and co in the original trilogy, and for the most part I thought this was an enjoyable, fun movie that fits neatly into the ‘Star Wars’ oeuvre without being beholden to the larger story of the main canon films – perhaps a reason why I’ve preferred this and ‘Rogue One’ to ‘The Force Awakens’ and ‘The Last Jedi’.
The film begins strongly with an introduction to Han (Alden Ehrenreich) and his lover Qi’ra (Emilia Clarke) on the shipbuilding world of Corellia as they scrabble and hustle to escape for a better life. I thought Alden Ehrenreich’s performance was fine in the leading role even as he struggled to successfully mimic Harrison Ford, but the film is a lot stronger once we get into the supporting roles. Woody Harrelson is as reliable as ever as Tobias Beckett, a criminal and mentor to Han who plays a key role in the film, and as one of the other main canon characters who appears, Donald Glover is superb as Lando Calrissian, effortlessly slipping into the role and he’s a clear standout. I thought the action scenes were thrilling and well choreographed, particularly a train heist sequence that harkens back to the series western roots.
I enjoyed ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’ and I thought it had enough charm and humour to overcome a fairly by the numbers plot, and I’m more intrigued about whatever the next ‘side’ story in the ‘Star Wars’ universe happens to be than Episode IX.
Directed By: Ron Howard
Starring: Alden Ehrenreich, Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover, Thandie Newton, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Joonas Suotamo, Paul Bettany and Jon Favreau