Solo: A Star Wars Story review by Bobby Blakey
It’s been a wild ride for Star Wars fans since Disney bought Lucasfilm. Not only have we already gotten two great entries into the original series as part of a new franchise with The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, but also the first solo outing with Rogue One. The next solo film to the franchise is ironically Solo: A Star Wars Story. The production has had numerous issues with the biggest being directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller being replaced by acclaimed director Ron Howard during production. This entry into the Star Wars franchise stars Alden Ehrenreich as Han Solo, Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian, Thandie Newton, and Phoebe Waller-Bridge, with Joonas Suotamo returning as Chewbacca, but can it capture the essence of the iconic smuggler along with the galaxy far, far away or will it drop its cargo at the first sign of the Empire?
Solo: A Star Wars Story follows an adventure with the most beloved scoundrel in the galaxy. Through a series of daring escapades deep within a dark and dangerous criminal underworld, Han Solo meets his mighty future copilot Chewbacca and encounters the notorious gambler Lando Calrissian, in a journey that will set the course of one of the Star Wars saga's most unlikely heroes. Being an insane Star Wars fan I was worried about how this film was going to work given the direction it was taken. Can you have someone else play Han Solo? Most were instantly against the idea, but whether you enjoyed the prequels or not most will agree that Ewan McGregor was able to pull off a great young Obi-Wan which means it can be done. It took me a minute to fully by into Ehrenreich’s portrayal of Solo, but he does in fact hit the mark.
While he does fully capture the essence of the character and his mannerisms he still makes it own and never tries to impersonate Ford which was the right call. On the other side of the famed duo is Joonas Suotamo as the new full time Chewie and this time around gets more to do than we have ever seen from the beloved Wookie. Obviously he doesn’t carry everything like Mayhew, but he does the character justice and makes it his own as well while keeping the essence intact. Their first intro here is easily one my favorite moments in the film and showcases a side of Chewie we have never really seen.
The real breakout star here is Glover’s take on Lando. There was no way anyone could steal the charisma of original Lando Billy Dee Williams, but Glover steps right in and does just that. Every time he is on screen you cannot help but smile as we get to see a new side of the beloved smuggling ladies man. The rest of the cast all do an awesome job as well with some fun new characters that fans will no doubt love including a new droid named L3-37 that is like no other droid before. The story is great with a couple of moments are a bit rushed to get to the point, but thankfully there is more that works that doesn’t.
The visuals are some of the best of the franchise with a gritty tone tacked on to the amazing visual effects to create a side of the Star Wars universe we haven’t spent much time yet. I loved that this one isn’t forcing more of the same stuff down our throats and instead taking us on a journey filled with smuggling, heists and the criminal underworld. Sure there are some of the familiar like the presence of the Empire and the mentioning of other aspects of the universe, but this is a unique film in the galaxy far, far away that stands on its own. One of the biggest moments in the film is the Kessel Run that fans have been hearing about since the very first film and it lives up to the hype both visually and in execution.
If I had to really complain about anything it comes in the ending of the film. It isn’t bad or anything, but does feel a bit anti-climactic. After seeing everything going down on the action side throughout it felt like it kind of ended abruptly, but in a way that is hoping to offer up more adventures with the young Han, Lando and Chewie that I hope comes sooner than later especially after some of the surprises that will no doubt leave fans in awe.
Fans of the franchise from far, far away will now be able to bring it home with a release that not only feature the film, but also a smuggler’s bounty of bonus content including deleted scenes and a ton of featurettes that take fans behind the scenes of bringing this great entry into the franchise to life. There is so much more fun added with these features including a great round table discussion with the actors and some awesome insights to how they brought the creaturesa, characters and effects to life.
Prepare to make the Kessell Run and grab your copy of Solo: A Star Wars Story available now digitally in HD and 4K Ultra HD™ and on Movies Anywhere and on Blu-ray 4K Ultra HD™, Blu-ray™, DVD and On-Demand on Sept. 25 from Lucasfilm.