After Rogue One: A Star Wars Story became a huge hit, Lucasfilm became a lot more confident in releasing more Star Wars anthology films. Now we have Solo: A Star Wars Story, which revolves around Han Solo, who is arguably one of the best and most memorable characters in the entire franchise. The film was originally directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, known for 21 Jump Street, The Lego Movie and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, but they got fired over “creative differences” with producer Kathleen Kennedy and writer Lawrence Kasdan. Ultimately, Lucasfilm instead decided to hire Ron Howard as director to finish the movie after Lord and Miller’s firing from the project.
Set before the events of A New Hope, the film explores a lot on Han Solo’s backstory, and we get to see how he becomes a smuggler in the galaxy with his pal Chewbacca. He joins criminal Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson) on a mission to retrieve an item for crime lord Dryden Vos (Paul Bettany). If you think the story is that predictable and simple, it’s because it is.
Solo: A Star Wars Story does pretty well as a fun sci-fi film. It’s action-packed with chase scenes and it’s undeniably entertaining to watch, especially when you see the Millennium Falcon flying on the big screen. While the action scenes are incredible, the only thing is that the film doesn’t do much with the lead character himself. They play it safe, and they don’t really develop him all that much. It’s a shame that Lawrence Kasdan, one of the co-writers of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, couldn’t even find new ways to explore young Han Solo’s personality.
Harrison Ford has been playing this iconic character for many years, and it’s hard to picture anyone in the role, until Alden Ehrenreich was cast as a young Han Solo. Ehrenreich was functional as the character, and you can tell he’s trying really hard to please every Han Solo fan out there. It’s unfortunate that he doesn’t stand out as the best character in his own movie, even if the actor does a great job for the most part. Seeing him interact with Chewbacca is definitely one of the highlights though, and you just can’t help but smile when you see those two guys together. Who’s the real standout? It’s the charming Lando Calrissian played brilliantly by Donald Glover! Compared to Alden Ehrenreich, Glover actually manages to make Lando his very own while still making it feel different from Billy Dee Williams’s interpretation.
Is Solo: A Star Wars Story an unnecessary instalment in the franchise? At times, it does feel that way. But it still doesn’t change the fact that it’s a fun sci-fi film taking place in the Star Wars universe. The production issues with Lord and Miller’s firing aside, director Ron Howard should be commended for doing everything he can to make sure moviegoers still get an entertaining time at the movie theatre. As Han Solo once said, “Let’s keep a little optimism here.”
Solo: A Star Wars Story is now playing in theatres.