Friday (Movie) Review: Solo: A Star Wars Story

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is another of the fill-in sort of stories we’ve been seeing in the Star Wars universe the last few years. This one gives us some backstory on Han Solo- where he came from, how he got to where he was when Luke and Obi-Wan found him, his friendship with Chewbacca. It’s a pretty decent addition to the group of films that are a sort of side dish to the main stories.

We meet Han as a troublemaking street orphan on Corellia, planning his escape from the petty thieving life he’s been part of. He plans to take his love interest with him, but they are separated before she can make her escape. Han vows to come back for her. He joins the Imperial Army, hoping to become a pilot but ends up as in the infantry. He hooks up with a team of pirates, led by Woody Harrelson in a role that seems tailor made for him. He also meets Chewbacca here. Their mission to steal a valuable cargo for a major crime syndicate goes awry, and Han learns that the girl he left behind is now a lieutenant for the crime boss. The crew promises to make up the lost cargo, and hire Lando Calrissian and the Millenium Falcon for a promised cut of the profits. 

There is a lot of good, fast-paced action in the film. The storyline and Han’s history are woven through pretty well. It captures Han’s charisma and rougishness well. There are a number of interesting tidbits that were fun to learn. The film almost never lags or slows.

Characters are well-written and acted. As noted above, Woody Harrelson is fun and quirky. Alden Ehrenreich is credible as Han Solo, and comes across just as snarky and self-possessed as Harrison Ford’s version. Paul Bettany is cold and ruthless as the crime boss. Emilia Clarke has a steely presence that fits what her character grows into. And Phoebo Walter-Bridge completely steals the movie at times with her hilarious android/activist role.

Some probably don’t like the movie any more than they did the other side stories, but I thought it was well-written and acted, it gave some insight into one of Star Wars more popular characters, and, above all, it was entertaining and fun to watch. Definitely a good choice.

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