Solo: A Star Wars Story Review
Here's our take on the newest Star Wars spin-off film!
Solo Movie Review!
Ever since 1977, the world has been obsessed with Star Wars. Now, 41 years later, the franchise is bigger than ever before. Lucasfilm was sold to Disney in 2012, and in 2015 they released The Force Awakens to a hungry fanbase who hadn't seen a Star Wars film in over a decade and the film grossed $2 billion worldwide. However, Disney wasn't just going to make one movie, not even a new trilogy but also standalone, anthology films which would focus on new and well-known characters in different time periods and planets throughout the galaxy far, far away. The first one was Rogue One, the story of how a ragtag group of Rebels stole the plans to the Death Star which was well-received by most and made $1 billion at the box office. This weekend we got our next in this line of spin-offs, Solo, which follows the adventures of a young Han as he becomes the galaxy's most infamous smuggler.
The latest movie in the Star Wars saga is a heist film with western elements that takes you on an action-packed adventure full of heart, humor, twists, turns, and double-crosses. It's got plenty of familiar characters with many new ones along for the ride too. The journey we take with Han is one that let's us see how this street-womprat became the scoundrel we all know from the original trilogy which Harrison Ford made famous. It's a tale of deception and intrigue as he faces off against some of the most vile characters in the violent criminal underworld of the galaxy. This is a different side of Star Wars we've only glimpsed in the other films when meeting crime lord Jabba the Hutt in Return of the Jedi or bounty hunters like Boba Fett, Degar, and Bossk in The Empire Strikes Back. That's a big part of what makes this movie stand out among the others, giving it a fresh feel and look.
The casting in this movie couldn't be better. As Han, Alden Ehrenreich has big shoes to fill but he pulls off a younger, more idealistic and optimistic Solo with ease. He becomes the character just as much as Joonas Suatamo did with Chewie in The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, but the 7-foot-tall Finnish actor adds an energy and ferocity to everyone's favorite Wookiee here that's infectious. Donald Glover does a phenomenal job as Lando Calrissian adding unexpected layers to the notorious gambler while his counterpart Phoebe Waller-Bridge brings the most independent droid to vibrant life as L3-37. Woody Harrelson is great as the charming criminal scum Tobias Beckett and Emilia Clarke is both cunning and driven as Han's childhood friend Qi'ra. The rest of the cast is brilliant too with the tough Thandie Newton, cool Jon Favreau, and menacing Paul Bettany, all delivering stellar performances.
There are some incredible action sequences in this film from huge heists to muddy fist fights from big shootouts to thrilling spaceship chases. Each scene is wonderfully crafted by the outstanding special effects and stunt teams. The cinematography by Bradford Young is breathtaking as this is one of the most gorgeous looking Star Wars movies ever with a style all it's own. The music by John Powell is excellent with plenty of nods to John Williams' fantastic score, but lots of new flavors mixed in as well. The costumes and makeup effects are amazing and the alien creature designs are magnificent. It's also got some great editing and is simply one of the most well-made films in this franchise from a technical perspective.
Written by Lawrence Kasdan and his son Jon, the script is awesome with a story that flows well, makes sense, and keeps the focus on the characters, in particular Han's own arc. It's got some of the best and most memorable lines of dialogue which is no surprise since the elder Kasdan penned the screenplays for The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, and The Force Awakens, as well as that other Lucasfilm production Raiders of the Lost Ark. The actors all have impeccable comic timing, their line deliveries are spot on, making the character-based humor work. The action is also important from a storytelling perspective, plus it all tests Han as a character, and that's all thanks to Ron Howard's superb direction. Most of all, this movie is a fun adventure with important action, meaningful character development, and some of the funniest moments in the entire saga.
I had a blast watching this movie. It's being released during a busy summer movie season, but it's still probably the most fun I've had at the theater this year thus far. It fleshes out the galaxy far, far away even further while adding depth to old characters and introducing some great new ones. Another important thing this film does is explore Star Wars canon more than any film since official canon was established when Disney purchased this intellectual property. Canon is anything and everything that takes place in the Star Wars universe including the movies, books, comics, video games, and TV series. This one connects to the animated Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels shows in very meaningful ways, so if you haven't yet, I highly recommend watching those shows after you see the film. Overall it was a fun, old-fashioned Star Wars adventure and I give Solo: A Star Wars Story an 8.5 out of 10.