'Solo: A Star Wars Story' Movie Review

Updated on May 30, 2018
popcollin profile image

Collin's been a movie critic since 2009. In real life he works in marketing and is also a novelist ("Good Riddance" published in Oct 2015).

Solo: A Star Wars Story
Solo: A Star Wars Story | Source

I remember thinking “ooh!” back in 2015 when Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, fresh off their success helming the fabulous Lego Movie, were tapped to direct the stand-alone Han Solo origin flick. At the same time, though, I thought to myself, “...and we need this movie, why?”

One of those thoughts was squashed just under a year ago, when Lucasfilm announced it had parted ways with Lord and Miller over creative differences and hired Ron Howard to finish the job. The other thought went away about halfway through Solo. We need this movie because it’s just flat-out fun to go to the theater, lean back, and enjoy yourself for a couple hours. Isn’t that the whole point?

Solo is damn fine entertainment, and there are plenty of worse ways to spend time at a movie theater these days. Aside from Deadpool 2 and Infinity Wars, pickings are mighty slim at the cineplex lately, especially considering we’re at the start of the summer movie season. So just let loose and regress back to your childhood days for a little while.

Alden Ehrenreich (Hail Caesar!) was blessed with the unenviable task of playing the younger version of one of Hollywood’s most beloved and iconic characters, and he actually does an alright job with it. Though he can’t quite channel all of Harrison Ford’s rouge-ish swagger, there are glimpses of our favorite gunslinger in him, and it’s enough to make Solo work.

As the action gets underway, young Han and his girlfriend Qi’ra (Emilia Clarke) are cooking up a scheme to get off of Corellia, a lawless planet whose inhabitants are largely consigned to slave labor. Though Qi’ra is caught before she can make it through the checkpoint, Han escapes, vowing to return for her as soon as he becomes a pilot.

Fast-forward three years, and Han has been kicked out of the Academy (naturally) and has snuck into the army, where he meets Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson), a scoundrel himself, and then blackmails his way into Beckett’s criminal gang. Shortly after, Han meets Chewbacca (in a nifty throwback to Return of the Jedi) and sets off with Beckett on a lengthy but spectacular action set piece that makes The Great Train Robbery look like an episode of Thomas the Tank Engine.

This all inadvertently leads Han back to Qi’ra, who is now a part of Crimson Dawn, a crime syndicate run by Dryden Vos (Paul Bettany). It also results in Han meeting a conniving gambler named Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover), who owns a piece-o’-junk ship called the Millennium Falcon.

Screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan (The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, The Force Awakens) joined forces with his son Jon on the script and apparently had an absolute field day putting this thing together. It’s abundant with winks and nods to dozens of bits from the Star Wars Universe, including: a glimpse of the disguise Lando would wear years later in Jabba the Hutt’s palace, Han threatening to use a thermal detonator, and even the origins of both his surname and his modified blaster. Heck, Ehrenreich even has the requisite chin scar.

It would be interesting to find out someday what of Lord and Miller’s original work made it into the finished product and how much is Howard’s doing (reports say the final movie is 70-80% Howard), but there aren’t any gaping holes or visible seams, and it’s difficult to imagine how Lord and Miller’s version could have been any better. In fact, Clarke herself has gone on the record saying that Howard “saved” the movie. Based on what made the final cut, I have no reason to doubt it; Solo is as good a bit of popcorn fare as anything to hit theaters so far this year.

The general consensus may be that the film lands somewhere in the middling ground of the Star Wars canon, and sure, it’s no Empire Strikes Back by any means, but it’s still one helluva ride. It’s both fun and funny with a spot-on amount of big-bang-boom action. Plus it finally (and brilliantly) puts to bed the whole debate over Han’s famous twelve-parsec Kessel Run.

Solo’s got it where it counts, so just get on board.

Rating

4/5 stars

'Solo' trailer

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, reelrundown.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://reelrundown.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)