Solo: A Star Wars Story – Review

Despite the behind the scenes drama, Ron Howard was able to make Solo: A Star Wars Story one of the most enjoyable Star Wars films to date.

Solo: A Star Wars Story is not needed, and it wasn’t asked for, but that didn’t stop it from being an enjoyable ride of a film. With the behind the scenes drama, including a director change, this film could have been a disaster. Despite that, it pulls through and was able to be one of the most enjoyable movies of the year thus far. While last year’s The Last Jedi left audiences divided, Solo offers a little more fan service for long time viewers.

Solo features dozens of call backs to the original trilogy where we were first introduced to Han. Some of the call backs are very noticeable and some go could go unnoticed on first viewing. The film tries to ride on the thin line between caving to nostalgia and telling an actual story. Solo succeeds in producing a story that is very interesting, making audiences care for characters they normally wouldn’t while also making sure all classic characters got their time to shine.

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Unlike The Last Jedi, Solo, isn’t trying to become something other than a Star Wars film. It knows it’s trying to be a prequel film set in the Star Wars universe and that’s exactly why it does so well. In many ways, Solo: A Star Wars Story, is a “safe” film. Fans can watch the film without worrying about favorite characters dying, yet succeeds in creating drama and building up to huge emotional consequences. This film has many twists and brings a fresh element to the Disney era of Star Wars.

Where we meet these characters for the first time is very intriguing because it adds to their characters when we see them in the Original trilogy. I originally expected them to add nothing new to Han’s character, but this movie does the exact opposite. Han is already a fan favorite character snd I would assume he will be the favorite of many more after Solo: A Star Wars Story. The film shows just how terrible his upbringing is, what his dreams and aspirations are, while also providing a stark reality to his situation. Han discovers really who he is in this film.

Han and Lando’s relationship plays out perfectly in this film. It organically feels like the lead up to getting to their charisma when we meet them in Empire Strikes Back. Glover’s charming, smooth talking performance as Lando is one of the most enjoyable things in the film and he feels like one of the most comfortable actors in their role. The film doesn’t try to hide that most of the characters in this film aren’t “good guys,” rather they are very human characters who went through  terrible upbringings. Solo: A Star Wars Story immerses you in their story.

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Ron Howard’s fantastic story telling ability mixes perfectly with Lawrence and Jonathan Kasdan’s adventurous script. Bradford Young’s absolutely stunning cinematography makes Solo: A Star Wars Story my personal favorite looking Star Wars film. John Powell’s score is such a breath of fresh air, which is much needed since the the Saga films tend to heavily rely on Original Trilogy scores. The Solo score uses pieces from other Star Wars films but doesn’t drown you in them. Instead, it offers new sounds to this film that fits with its characters and their relationships. The cast all work well together, delivering the same level of charisma that made you fall in love these characters in the original trilogy. Alden Ehrenreich and Donald Glover work perfectly together as Han and Lando. Ehrenreich gives plays a great Han without trying to do a Harrison Ford impression the whole film.

Even though it’s a terrible thing to happen for any creative talent to be fired over half way through a film, in my opinion, it is a huge relief that Solo: A Star Wars Story wasn’t finished by the original directors, Chris Miller and Phil Lord. There are a couple of scenes where you feel Chris Miller and Phil Lord’s written humor and it came off awkward. Ron Howard seemingly brought huge improvements to the film. While parts of the movie still felt jarring as it seems the film was confused with what style and tone its going for, once it figures it out, Solo: A Star Wars Story shines,

Overall, I think Solo: A Star Wars Story is great summer flick, and a delightful viewing experience for long time Star Wars fans. Fans looking for something more will find themselves disappointed. Solo offers a entertaining and emotional story for this long time favorite character in the Star Wars universe and plays like a simply fun time at the movies. Solo: A Star Wars Story is the biggest fan service to Star Wars to date, sometimes that’s exactly what fans want to have a good time. Ron Howard delivers on just that, a good time.

3.7/5

 

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