Solo: A Star Wars Story Review

Solo: A Star Wars Story movie posterSynopsis
After escaping his home planet of Corellia, Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich) joins up with Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson) and his criminal gang to steal hyperfuel, starting his life as one of the mot famous smugglers in the galaxy.

Review
When Lucasfilm announced they were creating a Han Solo stand-alone film, it was met with mixed reactions. On one hand, Han is without a question one of the most popular characters from the Original Trilogy and we could always use more Han. But on the other, did we really need to see Han’s back story? Not knowing is part of the charm of his character. I was in the former camp, albeit with some reservations. I’ve made it no secret that I haven’t been too keen on the latest episodic installments of the Star Wars franchise but I did enjoy Rogue One, the last β€œA Star Wars Story” film. For me any time I can spend in a galaxy far, far away, I’m there. However, it seems that the rushed and troubled production took its toll on Solo: A Star Wars Story.

This movie does have its moments. After 8, almost 9, episodic movies, we’ve spent our fair share of time in the Star Wars Galaxy. At this point, to make the stories seems fresh, they need something to stand out. To look at the superhero genre for an examples, Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a spy thriller that happens to have superheroes, Logan is a western that just happens to have superheroes, and Ant-Man is a heist movie that happens to have superheroes. Solo does something similar were it is a heist/western that happens to take place in the Star Wars Galaxy. I hope to see this trend continue where Star Wars movies just use the galaxy as a setting but exist in a whole other genre. It has shown it can work, like the aforementioned superhero examples, and could make for some pretty enjoyable Star Wars films. If they continue to make these anthology installments, that is.

As I said, Solo is a western infused with a heist. Maybe this is a personal taste of mine, but I wish the movie would have spent more time on the heist portions. Is was cool that there were essentially two heists throughout the film but as a result, not a lot of time was spent with the set-up portion. This is usually my favorite part of a heist film so I was a little bummed it went quick. Not really anything wrong with the film, just a personal preference as I said.

Alden Ehrenreich had the monumental task of portraying a character made popular by Harrison Ford. For the most part he did a good job in the role. He was able to capture some of Ford’s charm that he put into Han to make the character so lovable, but at the same time wasn’t a straight imitation and Ehrenreich put his own mark on the character.

Now, to move onto an actor who was a perfect fit for their character: Donald Glover. Sometimes an actor is just born for a role and that is the case for Glover as Lando Calrissian. He perfectly captures Lando’s attitude and swagger. He’s charming and sophisticated yet intimidating and tough at the same time. Based on this performance alone, I’m convinced Glover’s Lando needs his own spin-off film.

This movie definitely tried to cram as many locations as possible within its run time. It moved at a fairly quick pace, never really letting you settle down in each new environment before it moves onto the next. While it is nice getting your money’s worth for the amount of settings you experience, it still felt somewhat rushed yet too long at the same time. Han has a lot of history before Luke first meets him in the Mos Eisley cantina and Solo tries to cover it all. Despite covering much of Han’s history brought up in the Original Trilogy, it still tries to set up a sequel, which, let’s be honest, probably won’t happen at this point. Knowing that they wanted a possible sequel, the filmmakers could have streamlined the story, making it a little less chaotic.

But in trying to set up a sequel, the film gave either the best or most confusing cameo anyone would have expected. While I was shocked and liked it, others who only watch the movies might have been left scratching their heads. As exciting as it is to see Disney is working hard and making a conscious effort to connect Star War across all its mediums, the character’s appearance came from left field and probably confused more people than it excited.

I thought Solo: A Star Wars Story was OK 😐 As much as I like Han Solo as a character, this film did leave the lingering question of ‘why?’ It was fun to see his history brought to the big screen but part of Han’s charm is not knowing what’s true and what’s exaggerated. While it was enjoyable, I don’t see this having the rewatchability of most of the other Star Wars films.

Trailer

Cast & Crew
Ron Howard – Director
Jonathan Kasdan – Writer
Lawrence Kasdan – Writer
John Powell – Composer

Alden Ehrenreich – Han Solo
Joonas Suotamo – Chewbacca
Woody Harrelson – Tobias Beckett
Emilia Clarke – Qi’ra
Donald Glover – Lando Calrissian
Phoebe Waller-Bridge – L3-37
Paul Bettany – Dryden Vos
Erin Kellyman – Enfys Nest
Thandie Newton – Val
Jon Favreau – Rio Durant (voice)
Linda Hunt – Lady Proxima (voice)
Ian Kenny – Rebolt
John Tui – Korso

Dom Hemingway Trailer

IMDB Synopsis: After spending 12 years in prison for keeping his mouth shut, notorious safe-cracker Dom Hemingway is back on the streets of London looking to collect what he’s owed.

Quick note, this is the British trailer, so the November 15 release is for across the pond. Here in the states we will have to wait until April to see Dom Hemingway in theaters. Jude Law is one of my favorite British actors and this looks to be a good role for him. I really enjoy action movies that are mixed with humor, so I’m excited for this. April can’t come fast enough.

Dom Hemingway, written and directed by Richard Shepard, hits theaters November 15 in the UK and April 4, 2014 in the US.