Film Review: Solo: A Star Wars Story

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Solo: A Star Wars Story
Director: Ron Howard

Disney
In theaters: 05.25

I am going to be upfront about my feelings toward prequels. I am usually not a fan. Not just the Star Wars prequels—that’s a whole different ballgame. However, the idea of a story told before an already established one with the same characters doesn’t excite me. Sure, if it’s a tale of unknown characters (e.g. 2016’s Rogue One), at least there’s some thrill still available to extract from the screen. With the case of Solo, we already know how our main protagonist, Han Solo (this time portrayed by Alden Ehrenreich), perishes (see 2015’s The Force Awakens), so no matter how many conundrums he encounters or blasters he evades, the outcome will always be the same. With that out in the open, there is still fun to be had as the world observes the younger version of one of the greatest characters of all time. Our self-proclaimed antihero grew up on the streets with a desire to fly among the stars. With his love, Qi’ra (Emilia Clarke), at his side, nothing can stand in their way except the sinister Empire. After an unexpected separation, Han is forced to join his adversary yet eventually finds himself as a member of a ragtag pirate posse led by Beckett (Woody Harrelson). As the bandits attempt to thwart death from Dryden Vos (Paul Bettany) by repaying their debts, a near impossible heist is devised in the form of a Kessel Run. The journey includes a young and charming Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover), but it’s the galaxy’s favorite Wookie, Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo), who steals the show from his human and droid counterparts. Coming from veteran director Ron Howard, the film comes across as safe without any significant directorial uniqueness. Essentially, anyone could have made this sci-fi adventure. The flight sequences are mesmerizing, and the nods to the branded material are humorous as well as excessive. Howard plates an appeasing appetizer for fans, but, soon after, they will be ravenous for a main course. J.J. Abrams better be whipping up something delicious. –Jimmy Martin