Solo: A Starwars Story Review (Spoiler Free)
‘Solo: A Starwars Story’ is the second stand-alone Starwars film, after 2016s Rogue One. Starring Alden Ehrenreich, Donald Glover, Emilia Clarke, Woody Harrelson and Chewbacca as Himself, and directed by Ron Howard, this is a film that feels more like what George Lucas first envisioned 41 years ago than anything since ‘A New Hope’. By no means perfect, this was a different, and very refreshing look at the Galaxy far far away, at times feeling more akin to Firefly than Starwars.
The story follows the legendary Han Solo (Ehrenreich) as he firsts experience the universe beyond his native Corellia. Along the way he meets new friends in Tobias Beckett (Harrelson) and Chewbacca, as well as old in Emilia Clarke’s Qi’ra. Forced into an uneasy alliance with Paul Betteny’s Dryden Vos, he seeks out the fastest pilot in the Galaxy, Lando Calressian (Glover), to pull a heist like no other.
Many people were sceptical that Ehrenreich could live up to Harrison Ford as Solo, a role, and indeed a character archetype he defined for four decades, but Ehrenreich’s young solo feels like a 20 year old Ford, first setting out on adventures, bringing to mind the young Indiana Jones is Last Crusade. Harrelson and Clarke, the major new cast additions both bring a new type of character to the Starwars universe, and play their roles to perfection, and one can see how much further Clarke has progressed as an actor since 2016’s disastrous Terminator: Genysis.
This is the first film since 1977 Peter Mayhew has not been in the suit of Chewbacca, and sadly it shows. Joonas Suotamo is an able stand in, having done some work for ‘The Last Jedi’, and one, for the first time, sees Chewie as more than a secondary character, but it is in the eyes and physicality that one sees the difference. The stand out is, as predicted, Golver’s take on Lando. Bringing all the charm and smooth charisma that Billy Dee Williams brought in 1980, one could honestly believe they are the same person, decades apart. It’s easy to see why fans are clamorouring for a Lando spin off.
Howard, experienced in the world of George Lucas (first working together in Lucas’ first film, Americans Graffiti in 1973), truly gets this universe, making sets that fit seamlessly into the Starwars world and knowing truly what is wanted by fans. Solo deals not with Rebellions and Empires, Jedi and Sith, but with the little people who make the work of Starwars. The only iconic ship is the Falcon, the only lightsaber is a trophy owned by a crime boss. We see this galaxy as never before, from the bottom up.
Solo is not perfect, but, in a film about scoundrels and criminals, would we want it to be? Despite the fact that the film feels more at times like ‘The Princess Bride’, all swashbuckling and quips, rather than the galaxy defining moments seen in every Stawars to date, it fits, and helps expand a universe more beloved than any in fiction. Starwars is the greatest franchise on Earth, and Solo is definitely a more than worthy addition to the galaxy beloved by billions.