Solo: A Star Wars Story delivers fantastic thrills, pop-culture callbacks, and a lesser-seen side of the universe, but disappoints in the home stretch.
The movie covers the early period of the life of Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich); his humble beginnings in the slums of the industrial planet Corellia with his friend Qi’Ra (Emilia Clarke), through his brutal training as an Imperial pilot after he escaped offworld, to the start of his lifelong partnership with Wookiee Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo).
The smuggling crew Han finally joins is led by Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson), a jaded smuggler always looking for “one last score”. Crime boss Dryden Vos (Paul Bettany) has employed Beckett and his team to steal a quantity of coaxium, a rare element that can power an entire fleet of starships even in small quantities.
From Chewbacca's origins to past mysteries explained: 5 reasons we're excited for Solo: A Star Wars Story
When the movie shines, it shines brilliantly; Ehrenreich and Donald Glover as his on-again, off-again frenemy Lando Calrissian are pieces of inspired casting. Some have said that they were given the unenviable task of living up to legends. That may be true, but the charm and panache Harrison Ford and Billy Dee Williams brought to Han and Lando 30 years ago, they have in spades.
This is also true of the atmosphere of the film; while the main movie series focuses (too) greatly on the hero and on the whole Jedi myth of good versus evil, Solo decided to direct the spotlight towards the “scum and villainy” who try to make a buck in the gaps left in the universe by the “main characters”. Don’t expect any lightsaber duels or Jedi mind tricks to make their way into the movie; as Solo himself once said/will say, “hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster by your side.”
The one truly disappointing thing about the movie is the last act; just when the action is ramping up, it felt like the directors eased the foot off the pedal. The first half of the movie, while by no means groundbreaking, was still full of the trademark Star Wars banter and camaraderie we’ve come to love. The ending squanders all the foundation laid before, and cheapens the entire thing out to an almost cartoonish level.
Despite its flaws, Solo is worth a watch even if you’re not a devotee; anyways, what do you have to lose? Don’t ever let anyone tell you the odds!
Edited by Jamie Lam