Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018)

Movie Title: Solo: A Star Wars Story

Year Released: 2018

Rated: PG-13

Runtime: 2h 15min

Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Space Western

Director: Ron Howard

Writer: Jonathan Kasdan, Lawrence Kasdan

Starring: Alden Ehrenreich, Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover, Thandie Newton, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Joonas Suotamo, Paul Bettany

Review: Young Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich) finds adventure when he joins forces with a gang of galactic smugglers and a 190-year-old Wookie named Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo). Indebted to the gangster Dryden Vos (Paul Bettany), the crew devises a daring plan to travel to the mining planet Kessel to steal a batch of valuable coaxium. In need of a fast ship, Solo meets Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover), the suave owner of the perfect vessel for the dangerous mission -- the Millennium Falcon. Joined by his mentor, Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson), and childhood sweetheart, Qi'ra (Emilia Clarke), the most beloved scoundrel in the galaxy sets off for an adventure that will shape one of the Star Wars saga's most heralded heroes.

I have to admit, as a die hard Star Wars fan, I was skeptical when this movie was announced. As a viewer, we had experienced so much with Han Solo, that it seemed impractical to go back and retroactively tell his origin story with a new set of actors and characters. Consider me blown away by how good this movie is. There is a wealth of new characters that meld perfectly with beloved characters from the many previous Star Wars installments. The story is fresh, with subtle homages to Solo, Chewbacca, and Calrissian's prior appearances without being distracting.

Solo: A Star Wars Story does a wonderful job of providing supplemental information and plot to Han Solo while keeping the integrity of the character intact. Harrison Ford's interpretation will always go unmatched, but Ehrenreich should also be commended for his effort in filling the shoes of such an iconic character and critically-acclaimed actor. We learn about the infamous Kessel run, as well as Han's first meetings with Chewie and Lando. More or less, the rest is an entertaining, action-packed side story, but I'm glad that nobody tried to reinvent the wheel here. Obviously, if you're interested in this film, you're probably familiar with Han Solo and the rest of the Star Wars saga. I highly recommend this film, because despite the hype that inevitably surrounds any new Star Wars release, this one actually lives up to it.

Stars (out of 4):

Fun Fact: The Golden Idol (Fertility Idol) from the opening scene of Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) can be seen sitting on a table in the meeting room of Dryden Vos (Paul Bettany). Harrison Ford, who originally played Han Solo, also played Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark.


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