Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018)

solo a star wars story poster 2018 movie
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 9/10

Great third act

Rocky start

Movie Info

Movie Name:   Solo:  A Star Wars Story

Studio: Movie Studio

Genre(s): Movie Genre

Release Date(s): Movie Release Date

MPAA Rating: Movie Rating

solo a star wars story 2018 han meets chewbacca alden ehrenreich

…and the bro-mance begins!

Han (Alden Ehrenreich) and Qi’ra (Emilia Clarke) are workers for gang on Corellia but dream of seeing the stars.  When Han is forced to leave Qi’ra behind, he finds himself in an adventure in space and a member of the Imperial forces.  Going AWOL with a Wookie named Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo) and smugglers Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson), Val Beckett (Thandie Newton), and Rio Durant (Jon Favreau), Han soon finds himself in debt to the Crimson Dawn and their leader Dryden Vos (Paul Bettany)…but the chance for escaping the debt could be a gambler named Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover) and a ship called the Millennium Falcon!

Directed by Ron Howard (who replaced Phil Lord and Christopher Miller), Solo:  A Star Wars Story is the second stand alone Star Wars film following Rogue One:  A Star Wars Story in 2016.  The film followed the divisive Star Wars:  The Last Jedi in 2017 and was also released to mixed to positive reviews.  The film received an Academy Award nomination for Best Special Effects.

solo a star wars story qira l3 37 emilia clarke phoebe waller bridge

Girl…you’re gonna be trouble

Star Wars:  The Last Jedi was an extreme disappointment to me.  I’ve seen a films that are a lot worse, but it felt like it was more of a betrayal of a lot of thoughts and themes of Star Wars in addition to poorly written dialogue and plot holes that could fly a Star Destroyer through.  Ron Howard had me worried because he often deals in schmaltz, and a Han Solo movie without Harrison Ford seemed wrong.  I decided to give Solo a chance, and despite some wobbles out the gate, the movie is summer fun.  A ******Spoiler Alert****** is in effect

The first third of the movie struggles.  The story of Han leaving Corellia, joining the Imperial forces, and even much of the smuggling of the coaxium seemed pretty blasé, lacking energy, and formulaic.  The story really picks up with the return of Qi’ra and the introduction of Lando Calrissian and the Kessel Run.  The writing often seemed to pick and retell “legendary” moments in Han Solo’s murky past which removed some of his mysticism (much like why I didn’t like Harrison Ford’s other back-tale story Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade).  Despite this, a strong third act that actually had some twists and fun (like the return of Darth Maul…further cementing Star Wars:  The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels as cannon).  It leaves you hoping for a Han Solo sequel that feels destine to happen.

solo a star wars story lando calrissian donald glover

I’d watch a whole Lando movie with Donald Glover

Alden Ehrenreich had big shoes to fill and it feels like he does it.  As you watch the film, you adjust to him being Han Solo and he does bring a lot of the swagger in an almost Luke like fashion because the character hasn’t earned the swagger yet.  It is also good see a really active Chewbacca (with a recast Joonas Suotamo) since Chewbacca has been sidelined for a lot of the recent adventures.  I always like Woody Harrelson in these type of roles and that seems to be his niche now.  Emilia Clarke is kind of bland as Qi’ra though her character is strongly written and Thandie Newton could have been used more.  I was disappointed that Michael K. Williams had been recast as Paul Bettany and would have liked to have seen him finish the movie.  The real star has to be Donald Glover who brings the fun and charm to Lando and I could watch a stand-alone Lando movie (though I don’t think he’d even risk losing the Falcon since his beloved L3-37 is part of the programming).

solo a star wars story ending

I can’t wait to see how these unresolved plotlines play out…oh…crap

Visually (like the plot), the movie starts out rather uninspired.  A lot of the locations look very dull and lifeless.  This contrast is the last sequence on Savareen where it feels like a very strong homage to Sergio Leone’s Westerns or the works of Akira Kurosawa.  It is very good looking and stylish…I wish that more of the film looked like that.

Solo:  A Star Wars Story is a mixed bag.  You have really basic nods like how Han gets his name, meeting Chewie, and events which culminate in the Kessel Run, but you also have weirdly small and cleverer references like Aurra Sing, Bossk, ripped out arms, and Han shooting first.  While there are some stumbles, the movie rolls on and as a Hollywood “fun” summer movie, it succeeds.  It is odd seeing a Star Wars movie without lightsabers and references to the Force, but it is also refreshing.  The film doesn’t think too much of itself while having fun, but it also doesn’t really try to challenge the style and the look of the series.  This might upset fans who liked the genre bending attempts of Last Jedi, but it suits me fine.  Solo:  A Star Wars Story is followed by Star Wars:  The Rise of Skywalker in 2019.

Related Links:

Star Wars—Episode I:  The Phantom Menace (1999)

Star Wars—Episode II:  Attack of the Clones (2002)

Star Wars—Episode III:  Revenge of the Sith (2005)

Rogue One:  A Star Wars Story (2016)

Star Wars (1977)

Star Wars:  The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

Star Wars:  Return of the Jedi (1983)

Star Wars:  The Force Awakens (2015)

Star Wars:  The Last Jedi (2017)

Star Wars:  The Rise of Skywalker (2019)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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