Sunday, May 27, 2018
SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY - Movie Review
So yesterday, I watched Solo: A Star Wars Story at a local AMC Theatre, and needless to say, it's a fun new addition to the Star Wars universe! While he's no Harrison Ford, Alden Ehrenreich gave his own interesting take on Han Solo...portraying the character as one who was idealistic, so full of hope, and out to reunite with his long-lost love before turning into the cynical swashbuckling smuggler that we met inside the Mos Eisley cantina in A New Hope. The rest of the cast for Solo was exceptional...with Donald Glover stealing his scenes as a young Lando Calrissian, Emilia Clarke being both sweet and bad-ass as Qi'ra, Woody Harrelson giving a smooth performance as Solo's mentor Tobias Beckett, Thandie Newton being one tough chick as Val, Paul Bettany being a slimey yet suave gangster as Dryden Vos, and Phoebe Waller-Bridge delightfully playing the rebellious droid L3-37. And of course, let's not forget Joonas Suotamo—whose role as Chewbacca in this movie is the third time he played the Wookie in the Disney-era Star Wars saga (behind The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi). And the fourth time will be the extra charm when he plays Chewie again in next year's Episode IX.
In regards to the story, screenwriters Lawrence Kasdan and his son Jonathan were faithful to the origin of Han Solo that Star Wars fans have known for the past three decades or so. As established in the Expanded Universe before it was revamped by Disney a few years ago, Solo was an ex-Imperial officer from Corellia who rescued Chewbacca from the Empire prior to becoming a galactic smuggler...but not before winning the Millennium Falcon in a game of Sabacc from Lando Calrissian. The Kasdans didn't really add anything new to Solo's backstory, except the fact that (Spoilers Ahead) Han got his last name from an Imperial officer on Corellia who recruited him to fight for the Empire. The twist that the Kasdans gave to Solo's history didn't involve him, but the original love of his life, Qi'ra. This plot point has already been spoiled by numerous websites since Solo's release last Thursday, but Qi'ra was not only a romantic interest of Han, but a woman who yearned to rise up the ranks of a criminal organization known as Crimson Dawn. Qi'ra's new boss in this crime syndicate [after she (Spoilers Ahead) eliminated her original superior, Dryden Vos] turned out to be someone who was last seen on the big screen in The Phantom Menace almost 20 years ago. Here's a hint of who he is: He couldn't wait to reveal himself to the Jedi. He couldn't wait to have revenge! Are those good enough clues for ya?
In regards to the visual effects in Solo, they looked top-notch...as is expected for a Star Wars movie. That ground battle that Han Solo, Beckett and Val took part in before they deserted the Empire looked intense. The dogfight between the Millennium Falcon and those TIE Fighters near Kessel looked awesome. The droid L3-37, like K-2SO in Rogue One before her, looked photo-realistic. And that firefight between Beckett and his gang, those Ranger Troopers and Enfys Nest's (Erin Kellyman) Marauders aboard the Conveyex train on Vandor was one of the best action sequences in Solo. Music-wise, composer John Powell created his own sweeping score for Ron Howard's film while obviously incorporating memorable tunes from the previous Star Wars installments—such as the Imperial March (of course), the asteroid chase theme from The Empire Strikes Back, the Rebel fanfare and...Duel of the Fates. Yet another hint as to who I'm talking about in the last two sentences in the previous paragraph! And let's not forget that John Williams himself composed the new theme for Han Solo in this movie. Can't wait to listen to it when my Solo soundtrack CD arrives in the mail next week.
All-in-all, Solo: A Star Wars Story is a nice addition to the Star Wars saga. Before the movie was released, naysayers pointed out that this was a story that didn't really need to be told. While that's somewhat true, the main heist (to steal a form of hyperfuel known as coaxium) that Han and his gang pulled off in Solo was of great importance to the formation of the Rebel Alliance years later, and the revelation of who Qi'ra's new crime boss is at the end of the movie will have major ramifications for future Star Wars films. Even if the First Order is neutralized in Episode IX, Crimson Dawn will be a force (pun intended) to be reckoned with in any Star Wars flick that takes place during Solo's timeline (which is set between Revenge of the Sith and Rogue One, respectively). This new crime boss could also have an effect on the Boba Fett and Obi-Wan films that Lucasfilm is currently plotting out as well. We shall see.
So yea, Solo is a good movie and you should check it out as soon as possible! Happy Memorial Day weekend.
4 out of 5 stars. ****