“Solo” Shoots First

Movie Review: Solo- A Star Wars Story
Starring: Alden Ehrenreich, Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover, Thandie Newton, and Paul Bettany with Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Joonas Suotamo
Directed by: Ron Howard (Based on characters created by George Lucas)
Rated: PG-13
My Rating: ****/5


The latest anthology film in the “Star Wars” saga has arrived with “Solo: A Star Wars” story. While not the best entry in Disney’s work on the franchise, it’s still a fun space adventure that’s a good look at everyone’s favorite roguish scoundrel.

The film stars a young Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich) in his early days as a smuggler. Orphaned on the streets of Corellia at age 10, the story follows his journey from an Imperial Academy washout to a daring rogue with a heart of gold. Along the way, he meets his first mate Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo) as well as his old flame Qi’ra (Emilia Clarke) while he clashes with the stern mentor Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson) and the snide gangster Dryden Vos (Paul Bettany).

Donald Glover easily steals the show as a young Lando Calrissian, capturing the same personification of coolness that Billy Dee Williams brought to the role. Other notable side characters include fellow smuggler Val (Thandie Newton), a four-armed alien pilot named Rio (voice of Jon Favreau) and a sassy droid known as L3-37 (voice of Phoebe Waller-Bridge).

While the film underwent extensive reshoots after the original directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller left the project (though the two retain executive producer credits), Ron Howard has definitely provided a $250 million love letter to the “Star Wars” saga. The film is rife with homages to the films that have come before, including some cameos that may surprise you. Even if it may not be the most revolutionary entry in the saga, it’s still worth it to see the now-famous Sabacc game where Han won the Millennium Falcon. By the time the big Kessel run heist occurs, it’s easy to see why Han and the Falcon have the bragging rights of clearing it in less than twelve parsecs.

Even if the story “Solo” tells may be familiar, it’s also fast-paced, fun and on fire. Over the course of its 135-minute runtime, it shoots first and answers questions you didn’t think you had. Regardless of what the future holds for Disney and their work on the saga, it’s definitely worth viewing for both newcomers and true believers alike.

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