SYNOPSIS: Board the Millennium Falcon and journey to a galaxy far, far away in Solo: A Star Wars Story, an all-new adventure with the most beloved scoundrel in the galaxy. Through a series of daring escapades deep within a dark and dangerous criminal underworld, Han Solo meets his mighty future copilot Chewbacca and encounters the notorious gambler Lando Calrissian, in a journey that will set the course of one of the Star Wars saga’s most unlikely heroes.
REVIEW: Going in to see Solo: A Star Wars Story, I wasn’t expecting all that much from it. Having grown up watching the Star Wars films I loved seeing Luke, Leia, Obi Wan, and yes even Darth Vader on the big screen (TV screen in some cases). As far as Han goes however, the swashbuckling adventurer that he was, I didn’t enjoy his character more than was necessary. He was simply a smuggler in love with Leia to me. However, seeing this movie with a fresh new face (Alden Ehrenreich) to tell an age old back story was absolutely refreshing. I was very pleasantly surprised with the character build up and enjoyed the way Han came into himself as well as the man Harrison Ford perfected. Putting together an exciting film born out of the Star Wars name that wasn’t directly or indirectly tied to the Jedi and Sith must have been exceedingly difficult. However, Lucasfilm has a long history of visual effects perfection, none of which was wasted on this movie. Personally, I feel they succeeded completely.
Further, Solo was a riveting experience fraught with turmoil at almost every turn. Just when you believe you understand the rhythm of the plot, the director throws in a wonderfully executed twist which will leave your jaw dropped. Many moments throughout the film I found myself leaning a little too forward in my seat, trying to catch every detail of a scene. One thing that makes a film extraordinary is the ability of a cast to become the character they play and wow did they do exactly that. This young Han, though not the Han persona we have all come to love, is exactly what he needed to be at the beginning of his smuggling career, NAIVE. It is a whole new world for him and he is trying his best to find the positive in everything. Personally, his performance was a very welcome light to the gritty emotion of the film. This coupled with Lando’s (Donald Glover) charm and wit, and Kira’s (Emilia Clarke) confidence made it a terrific and inspired experience. The only discrepancy I could point out between the Star Wars films and this one is the seemingly forced subplot dealing with two of the usually overlooked side species of the franchise (Wookies and droids) and their personal experiences and conflicts with their oppressive captors. This is not to say it wasn’t very real and touching, which added a familial feeling to the whole ordeal and gave certain characters a deeper back story.
Finally, I’d like to make a few points about one of the villains present throughout a major point of the story. Though you could say every character involved is a criminal in one way or another… oh well. This specific criminal shook me with how powerful he was as an evil force. Paul Bettany, an actor I’m not too familiar with though I can enVISION a few outstanding roles he has assumed, really blew me out of the water with his performance. His character, Dryden Vos, was the perfect level of creepy yet amicable sprinkled with flecks of extreme violent anger at seemingly random moments. Just when you thought things were going the way you wanted them to for the lowly band of smugglers, Vos appears to rain on their coaxium infused parade. Though, between you and me, something much worse is seated right around the corner, find out more by purchasing a ticket on May 25th.
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