Solo: A Star Wars Story. A great addition to the Star Wars Universe.
At first, I was skeptical about a Han Solo origin story because much of what makes Han Solo an iconic character is that his past is shrouded in mystery. In addition, the character of Han Solo is so ingrained in Harrison Ford that I couldn’t imagine another actor living up to the role. Even with all my presumptive doubts, the film pleasantly surprised me. The movie felt like an old-fashioned heist adventure film. The story takes us through some of the adventures we’ve heard about since the original Star Wars forty-one years ago and also some brand new ones.
What really stood out for me in this film was the performance Alden Ehrenreich delivered as a young Han Solo. What made his performance believable was that he did not try to mimic what Harrison Ford did, instead, he created his own Han Solo. As a result of this, it was believable that this character turned into the cynical and cocky Han Solo that we all came to know and love. I would be excited to see another Solo film with Alden Ehrenreich in this role.
Another fun part of this film was the incorporation of characters we have known for a long time: Chewy and Lando. In my opinion, this could have been called, “Solo and Chewy: A Star Wars Story,” because you really got to know some of Chewbacca’s past and how he and Han became best pals. Chewy has always been one of my favorite Star Wars characters and getting to see a younger Chewy was very exciting (although, I might look at my Chewbacca stuffed animal a little differently now.) Now, onto Lando. Billy Dee Williams seemed irreplaceable as Lando, however, just like Alden Ehrenreich, Donald Glover was amazing. Glover was the perfect casting choice and was so enjoyable to watch as a slick young Lando Calrissian. Just like Ehrenreich, I am excited to see him in this role in future films. My excitement stems from the fact that I believe that Glover is one of the most talented performers considering his multi-faceted resume of music, acting in TV and movies, and screenwriting.
The one part of the film that I felt could have been better was the pacing, specifically in the third act. I only realized this after seeing the movie for the second time. During the initial viewing, I was engaged in the excitement of a new Star Wars movie, so the film flowed nicely. However, during my second viewing, I noticed that when the film seemed like it was beginning to wrap up, it dragged out for another twenty minutes and was not as exciting of an ending as I first thought. It is like finally climbing an amazing mountain, then once you get to the top, you have to climb across monkey bars. Despite this pacing issue, the film was still extremely entertaining.
Although there has been much criticism of this film, I find it hard not to enjoy, especially for Star Wars fans. It has intense action, exciting new characters, and excellent cinematography. The cinematographer, Bradford Young, is one of my favorite cinematographers of all time. He has shot films such as Arrival, Pawn Sacrifice, and Selma. He often purposefully underexposes shots because he likes to show the beauty of darkness. He sometimes did this during Solo, which created a gritty tone for this heist story.
I enjoyed this film and it made me excited about what Star Wars has planned for in the future. Personally, I am hoping for an Obi-Wan stand-alone film starring Ewan Mcgregor. Overall I would recommend Solo: A Star Wars Story to all moviegoers, Star Wars fans or not.