Solo: A Star Wars Story
Aida Vucic | 21/05/2018
Solo: A Star Wars Story tells the origins of our favourite smuggler, scoundrel and unlikely hero.
Originally from the dumps of Corellia, Han and his love interest Qi’ra (Emilia Clarke) long for a better life, and take their chance at one when it presents itself. Alas, in that failed attempt to escape, the pair is separated. Han vows to return for Qi’ra, enlisting in the nefarious Empire to become a pilot and reunite with his lost love. But things don’t go to plan, and instead he finds himself in the company of smugglers and his soon-to-be sidekick wookie, Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo).
We first met Solo in New Hope, with a substantial bounty on his head. And while he ultimately wound up stealing the heart of Princess Leia and assisting in the Rebels cause, he also became absolutely synonymous with Harrison Ford himself. If you've read the internet ever, you'd have noticed the immense trepidation with which the casting of Alden Enrenhreich was met. Now, that's not his fault necessarily; any actor would have felt the same pressure, let alone one with one amazing role (Hail Caesar) and some not so amazing ones (Beautiful Creatures) under his belt. Needless to say, Enrenhreich had big shoes to fill.
In what will come as an immense sigh of relief through the cinema-going universe, he more than fills those shoes; with a lackadaisical wide-brim smile and an effortless sense of ease the entire time. He's supported by an incredible array of side-players. Harrelson and Clarke are both great, and Donald Glover's Lando is pitch perfect; lighting up the screen whenever he graces it.
Ron Howard’s Solo: A Star Wars Story covers off on everything you expected to be thrown about Han's early days; including how he acquired the Millennium Falcon, from its previous owner Lando and his amusing droid (the film's MVP), and how he made the famous Kessel run in less than 12 seconds. But it still is Ron Howard's film; which, for those excited about the prospect of a Phil Lord and Chris Miller directed take, was not only a cause for concern but a potentially significant loss.
However, the film strikes a perfect balance, drawing on all the aspects we’ve come to know of Han Solo, and answering some niggling questions without shoving it down the throat of its audience. It's a pragmatic take on the delivery of the story, as almost everything Howard does, but perhaps in this case, where a character is so beloved that the slightest misstep can cause outrage, it is important to be so.
It’s just a shame, then, that many of these great scenes appear as though they were shot in one of the darkest, bleakest colour palettes to ever grace the screen. Indeed, it's not until the final act that the visuals become truly striking and Solo reaches it's true potential. But when it does, it's a bloody blast.
Strap yourself in for a joyride, piloted by the one and only Han Solo.