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Solo: A Star Wars Story

When Disney bought Lucasfilm in 2012, there was an expectation that the Star Wars franchise would be milked dry ASAP. The trend of Star Wars films seems to be following this expectation, as we start getting very specific spin-offs like 2016’s Rogue One, or this year’s Solo: A Star Wars Story. Luckily, the depth of the Star Wars universe that George Lucas created back in the 70s is rich enough that the spin-offs have plenty of material to sink their teeth in.

Solo: A Star Wars story is the origin story of Han Solo (here played by Alden Ehrenreich); we follow him as he joins a band of renegades (led by Woody Harrelson) as they attempt a difficult space-heist.

Christopher Miller and Phil Lord had shot half of this film as directors before they left the production due to creative differences with producer Kathleen Kennedy; veteran director Ron Howard was brought in instead to finish and reshoot a large part of the film. The divide between the two directors can be seen, however. Miller and Lord’s satire and humor stick out like sore thumbs when contrasting it with Howards more serious and homage-driven execution. It makes for some jarring moments and incongruous characters. You can even see how Miller and Lord wanted to shoot a heist film, and Howard went towards shooting a western.

Many movies today attempt to bring a sense of political relevance to their stories, this was attempted in Solo through L3-37 (Phoebe Waller-Bridge) a droid who voices the concerns of being second-class and discriminated against by others for being a robot. The character could have worked out if being political had not been its entire purpose in the film. Every line L3-37 had was a political jab, and for a space movie it’s completely out of place.

But Han Solo is such an interesting character that it would be hard to come up with a boring origin story for him. There were certainly fan expectations, but the ensuing narrative should be enough to please most moviegoers. The mesh of heist and western flick seems to bring a certain intensity so that we sometimes forget we are watching a Star Wars movie at all. Alden Ehrenreich is strong enough in the lead taking the reins from the legendary Harrison Ford, and the cast addition of Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian is a welcome one, as the artist’s charisma exhumes and makes his every scene hypnotic.

In the end, Solo has many flaws, and yet the material and characters are so well established in the Star Wars canon, that by sheer will and momentum they manage to pull through an enjoyable action flick.



About Young Critic

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I've been writing on different version of this website since February of 2013. I originally founded the website in a film-buff phase in high school, but it has since continued through college and into my adult life. Young Critic may be getting older, but the love and passion for film is forever young. 

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