Solo: A Star Wars Story – 3.5/5 – Movie Reviews by Ry!

Solo: A Star Wars Story – 3.5/5 – Star Wars is a place filled with many wonderful stories.  From the movies to video games, there are a plethora of characters going on fulfilling adventures.  By delving deep into that rich lore, we have begun to experience a lot of what we only knew on the surface.  With this new backstory into Han Solo, we get to experience another expansion of a character’s origin.  With some fun interactions, interesting locales within a traditional outline, Solo: A Star Wars Story is an adventure filled with a good time.

Premise:  We see the origins of Han Solo; as he navigates the criminal underworld and meets his fellow companions of future adventures.

In the lead role of Han Solo is Alden Ehrenreich.  As this renowned character, he does a serviceable job in recreating a younger version of the man from the original trilogy.  As Solo, he creates a person that is reckless and ambitious.  With slight innocence when it comes to the criminal underworld, his honest complexion gives off a perplexing angst that shows his adaptability.  His growth is subtle, but his companionship with Chewbacca is what makes him strong and true.  Having the wherewithal to bring these two together gives an understanding of Solo’s growth.  For the rest of the cast, please refer to the film’s IMDb page.  Some of the stand outs are:

Woody Harrelson as Beckett

Emilia Clarke as Qi’ra

Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian

These three give the better performances of the secondary characters.  They do a great job personifying the archetypes of the crime drama/heist genre through their acting abilities.  They show proof of the suave, aura and sophistication to carry the weight of simple written dialogue.  Glover does a great job in bringing his own lively antics to a well-known character, while the other two stand out within their own abilities.

The direction uses the outline of any crime drama/heist film, combines it with the ‘origin tale’ theme and elements of Star Wars lore.  With this origin essentially being a prequel to the main trilogy, it must balance between the known elements of Star Wars Canon while creating something unique.  With the film centering around Han Solo, we head on a journey that is whimsical, linear and very predictable.  In the first act, we get the typical scroll of sorts, which leads us to finding out where, what and how our main character (through circumstantial plot points) makes it through a series of misfortunes of slums, war, gangs and the inevitable mission that leads him to the person we know.  The first act is fragmented between choppy scenes, unhinged dialogue and forced ‘love interest’ elements, but Han Solo and Chewbacca’s relationship keeps you glued to the screen.  Once we head into the second act, Han Solo meets Beckett.  This relationship leads them on a path that meanders with obvious character interactions, expositional revelations and heavy foreshadowing.  Even with typical techniques, the characters keep it interesting through their unique personalities.  This leads to a third act that has levels of risk for Han Solo’s group and cliché villain.  We then have a predictable shootout that leads to some plot twists.  Some of the twists feel forced, but the others help heighten the unique flavor of the story.  Once in the climax, we see Han Solo come full circle.  The epilogue ends with an open-ended feeling that completes one chapter, with another one that can be visited.

The visuals are amazing.  From each unique place and planets, you feel a distinct atmosphere for each locale.  By using actual locations with slick camera angles and gritty colors, you have a grounded appeal to this time in the galaxy.  Everything is heightened by the colorful characters, droids, troops, but it adds to the emotional worth of the story.  The score is what you expect from a Star Wars film, but it doesn’t take away from the enjoyment.

Solo: A Star Wars Story is a fun-filled adventure with a familiar character.  Even for that fun, there is a juggling act of keeping with the main story while also doing something different.  Even with its flaws, there is enough fun to be had.  If you’re a fan of Star Wars and want to see a different story to the main line, this is one for you.  It is worth checking this at the theaters.

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