Tony's Take

SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY review

Never Tell Me the Odds

After all of the scandal and talk about the latest addition to the Star Wars Anthology Series, “Solo: A Star Wars Story” is finally here!  The film opens on Corellia, as a young Han (Alden Ehrenreich) is racing to flee an unknown enemy.  Upon arriving home, he quickly gathers Qi’ra (Emilia Clarke) so they can flee their dreadful habitat and run-free across the Galaxy.  As their plan almost works, Han manages to escape must has to leave Qi’ra behind.  Three years later, Han is a member of the Imperial Army and is still looking for a way home.  Here he runs-into a few allies, Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson), his wife Val (Thandie Newton), their compatriot Rio Durant (voiced by Jon Favreau), and a Wookie named Chewbacca (now played by Joonas Suotamo).  While masterminding a plan to get him home, Han unknowingly creates one that leads him right to the one he’s searching for, but with far greater cost than he was expecting; working for known syndicate boss Dryden Vos (Paul Bettany).  With their lives on the line, Han and his partners must find a ship, by befriending Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover) and his droid co-pilot L3-37 (Phoebe Waller-Bridge) for the Millennium Falcon, and secure the package of coaxium to exonerate them forever.

As was always going to be the case, “Solo: A Star Wars Story” does offer a certain amount of fan service.  The film gives us a few “plot elements” that explain previous mysteries surrounding the characters of the film, but I felt that they each offered more to the film, especially the ones that I was not expecting!  While there are plenty of characters, both new and old, it’s reassuring to know that both have their moments to shine.  Ehrenreich fully-embodies the arrogance, tenacity, and humor of Han Solo and in the mannerisms of Harrison Ford, while Glover acts as almost a perfect young Lando Calrissian with his Billy Dee Williams-perfected mannerisms and delivery.  Clarke adds a strong, female lead with layers to her character and Suotamo gets his first chance to shine as Chewbacca has a more-central role than in his previous films.  However two of the other stand-out characters are ones whose faces you never see, Favreau’s Rio and Waller-Bridge’s L3; each adding plenty of moments of humor and heart to the film.

“Solo: A Star Wars Story” is also filled with some fun, explosive action sequences as well; filmed in a broad scope with breathtaking visuals.  The colors dramatically “pop” off the screen and throw you into the Galaxy; many sequences truly make you feel as if you’re right there in the Galaxy!  While the film certainly services a narrative, it also completely works on its own as well.  The film does have its moments of struggle though.  “Solo: A Star Wars Story” takes a little while to get going, as the characters finally being their interactions.  There are also a few pacing issues as well.  One of the biggest complaints that is being said is that the film doesn’t offer enough new material to the franchise and I could not disagree more.  The film answers a few previously-unanswered questions, while adding some fun and intriguing characters, and one surprise that will leave your jaw on the floor!  The films comes-in at a steady 135 minutes, but its slow start does cause a minor issue.

“Solo: A Star Wars Story” doesn’t try to reinvent anything, it instead builds-on the previous narrative and adds in details and exposition here in there.  At its heart, the film is a fun, adventure-filled look at one of the most beloved characters in the Star Wars franchise; giving us answers and a backstory to his story.  I left the theater thoroughly entertained; “Solo: A Star Wars Story” is pure popcorn entertainment and I cannot wait to see it again!

 4.5/5

SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY is rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi action/violence, in theaters MAY 25TH!

 

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