The Epic Beginnings of Han Solo

 

Our second review for Solo! This one is definitely more in-depth, and if you want to know absolutely zero about the movie do not read ahead. There are NO SPOILERS, but if you are a movie purest, proceed with caution. 

Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018)
Starring Alden Ehrenreich, Joonas Suotamo, Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover, Thandie Newton, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Paul Bettany
Directed by Ron Howard
Release Date: May 24, 2018
Studio: Lucasfilm via Disney Distribution
Review Date:May 24, 2018

Review:
Before Wookies, gamblers, and fast spaceships, before he was even Solo, he was just Han (Alden Ehrenreich), with no family name or tribe to speak of. Han Solo: A Star Wars Story is the epic story behind our beloved smuggler turned general, it’s the story before he was either.

The movie opens in Corellia, and from the start, it’s fast paced. We pick up Han doing whatever it takes to get by, and in the process, we get an introduction into his backstory. Viewers are also introduced to Qi’ra, (Emilia Clarke), Han’s girlfriend, and we get to witness the struggle to hold on to each other and their future, all while dealing with the Lady Proxima. There is a payoff scene at the end of Corellia that fans of the story will appreciate.

Han’s motivation throughout the movie is his relationship to Qi’ra, for whom he’d fly across the galaxy.It’s easy to see that the core of this story is about relationships, and how far one will go for them.

Once off Corellia, we pick up the story 3 years later with Han in the midst of battle on the planet Mimban. While here, we meet his soon-to-be charismatic sidekick Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo), a slave kept in an underground pit. After an intense getting-to-know you type scene, Han and his new partner escape the pits and run smack dab into smuggler Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson), and his crew which include Val, (Thandie Newton). After impressing Beckett and his crew, Beckett agrees to take Han and Chewie on their next job.

When the heist on the Conveyex on Vandor goes sideways , Han shines as he comes to the rescue, demonstrating his piloting skills and his ability to act quickly. This is also where the plot thickens as Tobias explains more about their intended score, and who they are working for. After giving Han some sage advice, they set off again.

Luckily, we don’t have to wait long for Dryden Vos, (Paul Bettany), to make his appearance, informing Tobias, Han, and Chewie as well as the viewer more about this McGuffin, in the form of coaxium. This scene also reintroduces us to an old friend of Han’s, which makes the whole situation stickier.

After coming to agreeable terms with Vos, Han, Chewie, Beckett and their crew set off to find a man who can help them with their plan. Enter the roguish, but lovable Lando Calrissian, (Donald Glover), who teaches Han a few things about a game called Sabaac.

After a lot of bluffing, Tobias and Lando come to a deal that Lando doesn’t like, but accepts. Soon we’re cruising aboard Lando’s ship, the Millennium Falcon, in search of the McGuffin. Lando’s first mate, L3-37, (Phoebe Waller-Bridge), provides for some interesting dialogue and nuance about Lando. Tobias warns Han not to let his feelings get in the way of the job, and Han realizes that he may have to make some choices quickly.

Han and his crew quickly touch down on Kessel and set their ambitious plan into action, splitting the team up to take on different tasks. Han and Chewie make their way towards the coaxium and along the way Chewie faces a moral dilemma when confronted with slavery. L3-37 has her own way of dealing with that very same issue and provides ample distraction for our heroes. Finally, on the way out, we learn how the Millennium Falcon has such a unique personality during a rough moment for our heroes. On the way out of Kessel, the crew and ship come upon a formidable foe and make a maverick decision that affects their journey and their ship.

Finally, after a chaotic journey, our heroes touch down on Savareen, anxious to transfer the coaxium to Dryden Vos and get paid. However, when confronted with his own moral dilemma, Han hatches an extraordinary plot that changes everyone’s future, including his own. Friendships, relationships will be tested, and some will walk away with everything they could ever want, and some will not.

Final Verdict

There are some great namedrops and hints in here for the fans who’ve been coming back for years. This is a truly western-type epic that will make you laugh and leave you with lop-sided grins. The action is intense, but so are the connections to the characters. The extra time given to reshoot the movie after Lord and Miller were dismissed may have given us a tamer, but more well-rounded type movie. There’s action, there’s romance, and you too may have a good feeling about this.

Donald Glover and Phoebe Waller-Bridge steal their scenes and that scruffy looking nerfherder Han Solo, played by Alden Ehrenreich may give you the sense that it’s ok to recast this iconic role. Thandie Newton needed more screen time, I want to know more about Val. I could have used more reason to dislike Dryden Vos besides his affiliations and his scars – he was not well developed in the movie.

I felt the lack of dialogue between Han and Qi’ra about her choices created a detachment that was easily accepted and built into the final scenes of the movie. I went in really wanting to like this movie, and it wasn’t until I was at home, talking to my wife about it that I realized that, while it’s not the Han Solo that I grew up knowing and reading about in the now-Legends books, this portrayal does right by the character.

The movie also takes some of the heaviness out of the Star Wars movies that we’ve been used to lately. In fact, this Star Wars movie is fun. I just wish they’d spent more time on character development and a little less time on barren planets.

Out of 5 stars, I give Solo: A Star Wars Story, a 4.6 stars. – Scott K.

 

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Scott is a proud Slytherin and does work with The 501st Legion. Most recently, their garrison presented a $25K to Seattle Children’s Hospital! He lives with his wife in the Seattle area and this is his first piece for ATRP.

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