REVIEW | Solo: A Star Wars Story

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Review by Dustin Heller

Solo: A Star Wars Story, aka Solo, is the latest adventure in the Star Wars film universe.  The movie is the second of the Star Wars anthology films, following 2016’s Rogue One.  Directed by Academy Award-winning director Ron Howard, the movie serves as an origin story for the iconic Star Wars character Han Solo.  Taking the reins from Harrison Ford, Alden Ehrenreich stars as the young Han Solo.  He is supported by an excellent cast consisting of Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover, Thandie Newton, and Paul Bettany.  Solo is rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi action/violence.

The story follows a young Han Solo in his quest to become a pilot and own his own ship.  He must first escape from his planet and then get some money (however possible).  Along the way he meets some new allies that are trying to pull off a big heist to get some fast money.  When things go awry, everyone is left reeling and on the hook for the cost of the stolen goods that went up in smoke.

In need of a ship to pull off the next job, the crew enlists the help of famed smuggler Lando Calrissian.  With the odds stacked against them, it will take a near miracle to pull it off, but never count out Han Solo and his buddy, Chewbacca.

Solo is the shot in the arm the Star Wars franchise needed after The Last Jedi left a lot of fans unsatisfied.  I, for one, was underwhelmed with both The Last Jedi and Rogue One, so needless to say, my expectations for Solo were held in check.  The movie starts off really slow and is quite dull for the first 45 minutes or so (I was really worried!), but it definitely picks up steam after that and finishes pretty strong.

The action is intense and the special effects are top notch, but the movie is way too dark; not dark as in dark material, but dark as in lighting.  This was a major issue in the theater I saw the movie, and I would imagine it would be even worse in 3D.

Han Solo is one of the greatest movie characters of all time and nothing short of a pop culture icon, and Ron Howard did the character and the legacy justice with this movie.  To that end, it’s almost impossible to fill the shoes of such an iconic actor like Harrison Ford, but Alden Ehrenreich did a remarkable job of capturing the charisma and charm that made the character so likable.  Ehrenreich doesn’t really look like a young Han Solo, but there are moments where his facial expression makes you say “Ah, it is him.”

Solo is merely a spin-off and an origin story, but the possibilities are endless as to where they take this character and this storyline. I only hope next time the entire film knocks my socks off.

Grade:  C+

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