“Solo: A Star Wars Story” Entertains with the Origin Story about Han Solo
By Liz Lopez
Director Ron Howard took the helm on this production, “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” (after it was first started by directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller) based on a script written by Lawrence Kasdan (“Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” “Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back” 1980) and his son Jonathan Kasdan (“The First Time,” “In the Land of Women”). “Solo: A Star Wars Story” is a prequel film that relays the origin story of Han Solo, the character originated by Harrison Ford in “Star Wars: A New Hope” (1977). For “Star Wars” fans who have not seen the decades old film, or perhaps wondered how Han Solo started out as a young lad (played by Alden Ehrenreich, “Blue Jasmine,” “Beautiful Creatures”) where he grew up in Corellia, this story will fill in the blanks, including his young love interest, Qi’ra (Emilia Clarke, “Me Before You,” “Game of Thrones”) and how he and Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo) became a team. This action, adventure and fantasy film is adequately entertaining with the humor mixed in with the drama from trying to survive. This leads him to live within the life of crime, playing the games he needs to in order to get what he needs to achieve his goals.
“Star Wars” fans may critique the selection of Ehrenreich in the role of Han, but the actor portrays the character with the right dose of charisma, is charming and is highly energetic. Ehrenreich doesn’t look like Ford, nor does he need to in this younger version of a smuggler. Harrelson also excels as Beckett, playing the character as we have seen in similar roles. Donald Glover (“Spider-Man: Homecoming,” “The Martian”) takes the role of Lando Calrissian, and while he does a good job in his delivery, his character is not written well enough for some fans to care if he survives or not during a heist. I don’t blame the actor. On the other hand, his droid, L3 (voiced by Phoebe Waller-Bridge) is a favorite character because of the humor written and delivered. You don’t want it to be so, when she is hurt in one scene. Emilia Clarke is also impressive and certainly can deliver the hot and cold temperament of the nice vs. sinister character.
Interestingly enough, there is a scene where Han Solo has teamed up (of sorts) with Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson) and they are surrounded by others who want to take the loot from the current heist. When the men are standing with a wide leg stance and ready to reach for the weapon strapped to their leg, it certainly reminds me of the shoot-outs from the old (1950s-70s) Western, “Gunsmoke.” There is no doubt that some scenes are inspired from westerns and heist films that younger film fans may not recognize. Be on the lookout for more.
The film is generally fun and unless you have plenty of movie bucks to use this weekend, it will make for a good matinee, or during the “discount day” offered in some local theaters.
“Solo: A Star Wars Story” arrives in some U.S. theaters Thursday evening May 24th and nationwide on the 25th. It runs 135 minutes and is rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi action and violence.