“Solo: A Star Wars Story” provides a fun and unique spin on the legendary smuggler as it emerges as one of the surprise movies of the year…
When “Solo: A Star Wars Story” first announced Alden Ehrenreich as the young casting of the Han Solo, I could not describe the anxiety I felt over this casting. I hated the selection and felt this movie would be doomed from the start, regardless if it was a Star Wars movie. I had questions on the entire cast, and the trailers for the spinoff cast an eerie shadow on the scruffy-headed nerf-herder’s standalone movie.
Well, I’m delighted to report that all my fears were quelled after walking out of this movie. Solo provides a movie that is genuinely fun to watch from start to finish.
Ehrenreich proves to be one of the strongest points of the entire movie with his representation of a young Han Solo. The pressure of portraying the fan-favorite character never weighed down Ehrenreich’s performance. He takes on the character of Solo and makes it his own, while still offering glimpses that remind us of Han from the original trilogy. His relationship with Chewbacca is enjoyable to watch develop through the course of this movie, and the legendary bromance receives a plethora of fan service.
The only downside to Ehrenreich’s Solo is that there is no arc for the character to develop on. The story leads Solo to be basically the same person that started the movie, minus a few things he learned from smugglers over the course of the movie. This isn’t Ehrenreich’s fault, as this is a writing issue more than anything. Still, this is a fun and fresh take on Han Solo that will be enjoyed by Star Wars enthusiasts everywhere.
Now, even though Ehrenreich steals the show (as he should), the supporting cast is no slouch, neither. Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian and Emily Clarke as Qira provide life to quality characters in this movie. They help add value and incentive as to show why Solo has the motivations that he does. Woody Harrelson also provides a good role as Beckett, the mentor to Solo in the movie. His introduction to the story and connection to Han Solo is a tad rushed and lacks some depth, but it can be overlooked as the story fleshes the relationship out over the course of the movie. Paul Bettany serves as a decent villain with Dryden Vos but the character himself is mainly a driving point to give motivation to the protagonists. There isn’t a ton of depth to his character.
After these major characters, the rest of the cast suffers from underwhelming story arcs and purposes. Thandie Newton as Val and Jon Favreau as Rio serve as Beckett’s co-smugglers, while Phoebe Waller-Bridge as L3-37 provides the constant droid presence that is a commonality in Star Wars movies. L3 will be a mixed bag for some fans in what has been an incredible lineup of droids over the span of all Star Wars movies. Ultimately, I didn’t care much for any of these characters, and this was due to a lack of fleshing out in writing.
The characters provide unique additions to the universe, but the writing ultimately fails to support any of these characters as they all underwhelm in the film. In addition, the tone of the movies causes confusion amongst some of these characters in certain scenes. One scene started a common Star Wars joke with a character and led the crowd to believe it was a light-hearted moment every time this topic came up, only to immediately change direction with a traumatic moment in the film on the same idea. Some may like the twist, but I was ultimately not a fan.
The film offers plenty of fan service to Star Wars junkies. There are still plenty of twists that make the movie enjoyable, in addition to one massive plot twist that had my entire theatre gasping and squealing upon unveiling. The writing lets your mind wander down one path only to psych you out on another twist. The story doesn’t end as you’d think, which keeps the movie refreshing and enjoyable to put a twist on what was expected.
The movie ultimately exceeds expectations and vaults it’s way towards one of my favorite Star Wars movies. If you’re a Star Wars fan, see this movie sooner rather than later, as the massive plot twist in the movie will eventually be leaked online.
Wait, why am I saying for just Star Wars fans only? You should just go see this movie, period.