Solo: A Star Wars Story is the fourth edition in my marathon of the saga before Rise of Skywalker. I am continuing to binge it chronologically in the Star Wars timeline, even though Solo is the most recent theatrical release. While Solo was a mess and not greatly received by fans and critics, I found it to be a very fun and enjoyable film.
Before we go into analyzing the movie itself, a couple external aspects must be addressed. First, this movie had different directors and as a result, multiple re-shoots. Ron Howard took over the project as Phil Lord and Christopher Miller were let go from directing due to creative differences with Lucasfilm. Howard basically came in and had to re-do a lot of the film. Also, the film did very poorly at the box office. Disney lost an estimated total of $76.9 million from the film, according to calculations made by Deadline Hollywood. With a bad word of mouth, not as many fans went and saw it. Another reason it didn’t do as well is that some did not find this movie worth seeing. The movie told the backstory of the beloved Han Solo, and many people did not think that it was needed. He had a vague background set up in the original trilogy and his character was well-established and did not need a movie to give backstory. With all this in mind, let’s look at the film itself.
The movie is about Han Solo and Qi’ra escaping a gang on Corellia, and the two then get separated and he enrolls in the Imperial Naval Academy so he can become a pilot and come back for her.
Solo stars Alden Ehrenreich as a young Han Solo. He took advice from the characters’ original actor Harrison Ford and did well portraying him. He was cocky, independent, and very resourceful and cool under pressure. He brought the character to life and did a great job, all things considered.
Donald Glover starred a young Lando Calrissian, and he also took advice from the character’s original actor, Billy Dee Williams. He did a great job portraying a younger version of the character, but one issue I have is that he feels a little too like I am watching a celebrity portray a character more than just the character. There is too much celebrity in his role and it takes away some of the immersion in the movie.
The movie also stars Woody Harrelson and Emilia Clarke. Clarke plays Han’s love interest in the movie and does a great job of being deceptive and confident on-screen. But Woody Harrelson is fantastic in the film. He plays a thief who is trying to settle debts and make ends meet. He portrays what feeling desperate but hopeful is like and he is the most well-rounded character in the movie.
The cinematography in this film is its best aspect. The whole film, like every Disney produced Star Wars film, looks beautiful with a great blend of practical effects and CGI. The ships flying through space and storms look amazing and real and the settings set up by the film are unique and well put together. There is an action that involves a train heist through an icy mountain range. One can feel its intensity and it does a good job giving the spotlight to all characters involved.
While the cinematography is great, as well as the writing and actors, the biggest flaw with the film is the missed opportunities it had. First, Lando Calrissian, an important character in the original trilogy, was barely in the movie. Even in sequences that he was a part of, the spotlight was given to other characters. The supporting lead was Harrelson’s character, but I felt like the film would have been more memorable and satisfying for fans if it focused more on Han and Lando. Also, at the end of the movie, Darth Maul makes an appearance. While this is awesome, it wasn’t built up at all, it feels out of place if one hasn’t seen the Clone Wars or Rebels TV shows, and it’s possible it may not go anywhere beyond this movie. Just hearing the voice would have been better.
While this movie isn’t necessary for the grand scheme of Star Wars and misses some opportunities, it is a fun space action-adventure film and one can easily enjoy this movie despite its messy production. I would recommend it if you’re looking for a fun movie to watch, but not if you’re expecting a Han and Lando focused movie.