Solo A Star Wars Story takes you to the origin story of one of my favourite characters in the Star Wars Universe, Han Solo. Played by Alden Ehrenreich, Han Solo is the younger version of the rogue pirate we saw for the first time in A New Hope. Ehrenreich brings the energy, the physicality, and the charm of the original to the role and makes it his own. I was afraid i won’t enjoy a film on Han Solo without Harrison Ford, but i was pleasantly surprised.
The film is a romp through the Star Wars Universe, touching on some of Solo’s extended circle. The scene where Chewie and Solo meet for the first time, and you see the chemistry from the original series, you know the movie has made a connect with you. Chewie, by the way, is a much slimmer version of the one we are used to seeing. Much fitter too. I like the way they de-aged him. (In this film, he is 190).
At it’s core, Solo A Star Wars Story, is a heist film. A rag-a-tag group of misfits have to pull off a heist, for a gangster – else they will be killed. They have to rob a shipment of the most precious fuel in the universe, past guards, pirates, rebels, the imperial army, and deep space oddities – like a giant worm that tries to eat them. Lawrence Kasdan, the writer of this film (and the director of Empire Strikes Back), possibly had fun retelling that bit from the Empire Strikes Back.
The Gang includes a ageing pirate Tobias Beckett (woody Harrelson), whose cynicism is reminiscent of the older Solo. There is Qi’ra (Emila Clarke), Solo’s first love from a planet far, far, away. They grew up in the slums together, and swear eternal love. When they meet again, she is the gangster’s ‘trusted associate’ and Solo is in the cross hairs of death. The pilot of the Millennium Falcon and his second bring up the rest of the crew. 4 people and a droid against everyone else. The pilot is the second best rouge in the galaxy, Landau Calrissean (Donald Glover) just as suave as Billy Dee Williams was. His Droid L3 has attained sentience, and is campaigning for the rights of all enslaved ‘people’ including droids. And, of course, there is the villain, Dryden Vos (Paul Bettany)- a ruthless gang lord who controls multiple criminal operations. Finally, there is the only woman who got between the friendship of Solo and Calrissian – the Millennium Falcon.
While the film has a lot of action pieces, the Kessel Run, for example, it also has lovely scenes for character development. The sabbac games between Solo and Calrissian, just oozed chemistry. The scenes where friendship between Chewie and Han evolves, is well told. The gentle mentoring by Beckett of Solo.
This is possibly the most fun i have had in a star wars film since a new hope, and empire strikes back. There is that sheer energy and niceness, and star wars hadn’t descended into Jedi Religious mumbo jumbo. This is a space caper. A fun watch. I am going back to see it again