Solo: A Star Wars Story, or simply Solo, is a 2018 Space Western based on the Star Wars character Han Solo. Directed by Ron Howard, it was produced by Lucasfilm and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. It is the second Star Wars anthology film following 2016’s Rogue One. A stand-alone installment set prior to the events of A New Hope, it explores the early adventures of Han Solo and Chewbacca. I was excited to see Solo based on trailers and my Star Wars history but wasn’t that happy about how Solo turned out. While I continued to be entertained, I didn’t feel as touched or as involved in the story as in the past. Could it be that there are too many Star Wars movies giving one the feeling that it’s just a competition piece without rhyme or reason? A money grabber, if you will.
On the shipbuilding world of Corellia, orphaned children are made to steal in order to survive. A young Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich) and his girlfriend, Qi’ra (Emilia Clarke) escape from a local criminal gang. They bribe an Imperial officer with a stolen sample of coaxium, a powerful hyperspace fuel, in exchange for passage on an outgoing transport, but Qi’ra is apprehended by their pursuers before she can board. Han vows to return and rescue her, he then joins the Imperial Navy as a flight cadet. Han is given the surname “Solo” by the recruiting officer.
In the meanwhile, three years have past and Han has been expelled from the Imperial Flight Academy for insubordination. While serving as an infantryman during a battle on the planet Mimban, he encounters a gang of criminals posing as Imperial soldiers led by Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson). He tries to blackmail them into taking him with them, but Beckett has him arrested for desertion and thrown into a pit to be fed to a beast – a Wookiee named Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo). Able to speak Chewbacca’s language, Han persuades him to work together to escape their confinement. In need of extra hands, Beckett rescues them and enlists them in the gang, which includes Beckett’s wife Val (Thandie Newton). They then plot to steal a shipment of coaxium on the planet Vandor. The plan goes awry when the Cloud Riders show up with their leader Enfys Nest (Erin Kellyman), resulting in the deaths of two crew members and the destruction of the coaxium. Beckett reveals he was ordered to steal the shipment for Dryden Vos (Paul Bettany), a high-ranking crime boss in the Crimson Dawn syndicate. Han and Chewbacca volunteer to help him steal another shipment to repay the debt.
At this point, the film picks up a whole new adventure. There are many twist and turns and some surprises you won’t see coming. Solo is an excellent story with far fewer characters than some of the earlier Star Wars productions. You might note the character Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover) who was formerly played by Billy De Williams has been replaced with a younger actor. Also, Han Solo was originally played by Harrison Ford but is not played by Alden Ehrenreich. Over all I think Solo is missing the grandiose feeling usually displayed in these type of movies but still is a very good film. Solo is definitely not worth seeing in 3D but is worth seeing in the regular standard format. Check it out!