Kyle J. Steenblik

Solo: A Star Wars Story Brings Legends to Life [Review]

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Solo: A Star Wars Story
Directed by: Ron Howard
Written by: Jonathan Kasdan, Lawrence Kasdan
Based on Characters by George Lucas
Starring: Alden Ehrenreich, Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover, Thandie Newton, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Joonas Suotamo, Paul Bettany
Production company: Lucasfilm Ltd.
Distributed by: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Release date May 25, 2018
Running time 135 minutes
Rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi action/violence
 
4 stars out of 5
Board the Millennium Falcon and journey to a galaxy far, far away in ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story,’ 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. – Walt Disney Studios


Solo is a massive dose of nostalgia in a shiny new package that overcomes the odds to be a familiar feeling new film and story sure to delight audiences.  There were countless things that could have proved disastrous for this film, the most daunting is placing actors in the position of portraying familiar and beloved characters.  Fortunately, Director Ron Howard managed to successfully navigate through that treacherous maw to deliver a highly entertaining film.  While unfortunately short on innovation, Howard compensated with a lighthearted nature and dynamic style that brings to mind classic films like The Italian Job, or The Sting.  While any real sense of danger was missing but was not missed thanks to a well-paced array of thrilling sequences and quippy dialogue.

Of course, the big question on my mind as I walked into the theatre, as I’m sure is the same question on everyone else’s mind, is can Alden Ehrenreich embody the character of Han Solo that we know so well.  Truth be told he did not quite manage to capture the spark that Harrison Ford brought to the character, but he did manage to bring a nonchalance of his own.  While he shone like a new scoundrel no one had heard of he also managed to look unsure of himself while boasting to be the best pilot in the galaxy.  I would call his performance acceptable, or adequate.  He was good enough to pass as Solo, but not enough to make us forget Harrison.  Donald Glover, on the other hand, might have just been Billy Dee Williams in a very good mask.  His performance had all the hallmarks that Williams brought to life, the ticks and quarks were clearly visible, they just had a fresh coat of paint.  Glover’s portrayal of Lando Calrissian is easily the best part of Solo: A Star Wars Story.

Packed with cheer-worthy scenes of the Millennium Falcon in action, fabulous heroes meeting for the first time, and classic legends brought to life, Solo is a superb origin story.  I hope the early talks of spinning Solo up into a trilogy of films bears fruit because I don’t know that I’ll ever tire of Han, Chewbacca, and Lando.

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