I’ve been a Star Wars fan for as long as I can remember. So, one can imagine how excited I am every time a new movie comes out, especially an anthology dedicated to one of my favorite Star Wars characters – Han Solo.
Released on May 25, “Solo: A Star Wars Story” starts off with young orphaned Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich) running away from the law as he tries to steal his way out of the poor shipbuilding planet of Corellia alongside girlfriend Qi’ra (Emilia Clarke). However, their plans are spoiled when the two are separated, causing Han to spend the next two years fighting for the Imperial Army to buy his way back to Corellia and save Qi’ra.
After stirring up some trouble in the army and rescuing his infamous best friend, Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo), Han joins a gang of criminals, led by Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson), all in hopes of rescuing his childhood sweetheart. The film proceeds to follow Han as he’s introduced to the world of smuggling. Through this film, viewers see the young pilot rough himself into the classic, beloved character we all know and love today, while exemplifying his roots – like how he met his friend, and other Star Wars all time favorite, Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover).
Overall, “Solo” was good, but nothing necessarily remarkable. Going in, I knew that whatever happened in this film wouldn’t drastically change the plotline of the entire Star Wars franchise being that it was, in it’s own little way, a prequel to the original trilogy. Despite the safety of it all, that didn’t stop the writing and the plot from taking a blow.
The writers could have done a better job with some of the dialogue as well as the plot. The plot felt a bit bland and didn’t have a lot of complexity, intense climax or any jaw dropping surprises to it. The only surprising factor was the out-of-the-blue, brief second, introduction of Darth Maul (Ray Park). For those of you who don’t know, (spoiler alert) Darth Maul is a villain who was presumed dead after Obi-Wan Kenobi killed him in “Episode One: Phantom Menace.” This surprise didn’t feel substantial and, in fact, felt a bit random.
Not to mention, only diehard Star Wars fans would know Darth Maul survived “Episode One” due to the fact he made various appearances in the 2008-14 Star Wars Cartoon Network show, “Star Wars: the Clone Wars.” For those who have never watched past the Star Wars movies, this had to be super confusing to witness since Darth Maul had been chopped in half and thrown into a never ending chasm. Personally, the only reason I can see it being necessary to add is for possible continuity for the upcoming 2019 Star Wars anthology film about another bad boy – Boba Fett (originally played by Jeremy Bulloch).
As for the characters, they were interesting enough. Ehrenreich did an awesome job in his portrayal of Han Solo. When the franchise was introduced to Han in the original trilogy, he was a sarcastic guy with a hard shell and soft interior, a jerk turned softie, and it was interesting to see a more innocent side of this character when he had to be either a teenager or in his early twenties. I think the film also added complexity to Solo’s character, it made him a lot more realistic and showed the effects of the lessons Solo had to learn through this movie as he tries to understand the ins and the outs of the dirty, lying and cheating world of smuggling.
Another big character to focus on is Lando Calrissian – portrayed by Donald Glover, also known as hit musician Childish Gambino. Glover’s portrayal of Lando was impressive. We only got a slice of Lando in the last two original Star Wars films and never really get a real good idea to who he is. Through “Solo,” more depth was added to the character of Lando Calrissian and provided the audience, and long time Star Wars fans, with a background as to how he met Han.
A lot of attention came to this character due to the confirmation from the director that Lando is pansexual. This is through one line where Calrissian is said to be flirting with Solo and calls him “baby.” However, there wasn’t much of an indication that it was flirting, it seemed to be more comedic relief. Calrissian is a natural flirt, but there was never any clear indication in regard to his sexuality in the movie. There were other scenes that do indicate him coming on to various characters, but nothing solid.
This is particularly important as now “Solo” has a place in the mass industry debate of having a character who is either truly a part of the LGBT+ community or just the film industry’s way of “queerbaiting” or the practice of hinting, but not actually depicting, a same-sex romantic relationship. This is something other franchises, like Harry Potter with J.K Rowling’s claim that Dumbledore is gay, have gone under fire for. Glover has also confirmed Calrissian’s sexuality in an interview from the Washington Post, “How can you not be pansexual in space?” Due to the fact everyone is an alien and, basically, gender has no meaning in space.
As for the new characters, they had substance. Tobias emulated a bit of an older Han and acted almost like the mentor as to which Han learned his tough demeanor and smuggling skills from. As for Qi’ra, she exemplified this idea that Han had another life prior to “Episode 4: New Hope” and he has a past and was in love before Princess Leia, something we get very little hints about in the originals. Beckett and Qi’ra mostly contribute to Solo’s trust issues later in life, giving reason behind the character’s biggest flaw.
The best part, like in many of the Star Wars films, was the production and cinematography that went into making the movie. It was intriguing to discover more of Star Wars universe and gain a better portrayal of the smuggling world. Along with that, the aliens and special effects were pretty great. I personally loved how they included Han making the kessel run in less than twelve parsecs – an iconic remark about his beloved ship, the Millennium Falcon, which us viewers get to see how Han obtained. Continuing, “Solo” did a phenomenal job paying homage to Han Solo through little tributes like the golden dice from “Episode 8: Last Jedi” and the origin to the smuggling compartments in the Falcon from “Episode 4.”
Overall, even though this film had its flaws, I liked it a lot. “Solo” was a lot of fun to watch. Even if the writing or the plot weren’t exactly well thought out, that didn’t detract from the entire movie experience. To be quite honest, I enjoyed every second of the film because it was a good, wholesome, comedic Star Wars film. The last couple of Star Wars films have been a bit heavy, either from major character deaths to intense plotlines about war, so it was good to get a refreshing, more fun-loving feel from this Star Wars film. It’s what I had been missing. So, with that, I’m going to give Solo a 7/10. It’s a must see this summer, so try to check it out!