Review of Solo by eric

Review of Solo: A Star Wars Story

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last few years, you are probably aware that the Star Wars franchise has been revamped by Disney. The Star Wars franchise has a bad habit of releasing movies out of chronological order, releasing episodes 4, 5, and 6, waiting a decade and a half, and then releasing episodes 1, 2, and 3. Then only after waiting another decade did they release episode 7 followed by Rogue One (slotting in between episode 3 and 4 just to confuse us) and then finally episode 8. Star Wars has surpassed even the iPhone in the most confusing way to count. But even with that, we still haven’t arrived at the most recent addition to the Star Wars universe: Solo. Solo takes place before Rogue One but after episode 3, but you have to do some real thinking to figure that out. It doesn’t interact with any of the other movies’ storylines and as a result doesn’t have any significance to the franchise other than character development. In fact, I would go as far to say that it’s not a Star Wars movie at all.

As you may have guessed, Solo covers the backstory of Han Solo similar to how the prequels told that of Darth Vader. Han starts out orphaned on the planet Corellia just after he steals a small amount of refined coaxium (an incredibly expensive and powerful hyperspace fuel) after which he is captured by a local gang. He manages to escape and he and Qi’ra (his girlfriend at the time) bribe an imperial officer with the valuable fuel in exchange for a ride on an outgoing transport, but Qi’ra gets apprehended by imperial troops while Han narrowly escapes. He vows to come back for her and joins the imperial navy. He is thrown out of flight school for insubordination and becomes an infantryman. He spots a gang of criminals posing as infantry and threatens to turn them in if they don’t let him join their gang. They turn the tables on him however, and he finds himself face to face with “The Beast”. The Beast turns out to be everyone’s favorite Wookie, Chewbacca, and using the little bit of Wookie that he speaks Han convinces Chewbacca to help him break out, after which they go and persuade the criminals to let him go with them.

Han then learns that they were stealing equipment in preparation for a heist to steal a shipment of refined coaxium. The heist goes badly after they encounter pirates known as the cloud riders and the shipment is destroyed, killing two of the crew members in the process. Beckett (the crew leader) then reveals to Han and Chewbacca that the shipment was for high level crime boss Dryden Vos, who they have to visit to explain the situation. While there, Han runs into Qi’ra who has worked her way up to being Vos’s top lieutenant. They have to come up with a way to get the coaxium, so Han suggests stealing unrefined coaxium from the planet Kessel. Vos approves this plan and assigns Qi’ra to go with them. Unrefined coaxium is extremely unstable and needs to get to a refining plant extremely quickly, so they enlist the help of Lando Calrissian, an accomplished smuggler and owner of the Millennium Falcon. They steal the coaxium but have the Kessel authorities in hot pursuit and have to veer off course to avoid an imperial blockade. They fight through the debris field and make it to Savareen in time to refine the coaxium having just broken the record for the Kessel run. From there, the movie takes a very interesting turn, so for the sake of avoiding spoilers, I won’t say any more. So on to my opinion.

Solo isn’t a Star Wars movie. That much should be stated first and foremost. There is no death star explosion, there are no Jedi or lightsaber battles, and in fact, the main antagonist isn’t even the empire. It doesn’t talk about the war between the republic and the empire, or even the rebellion. Almost no part of this movie shares any characteristics with any other Star Wars movie. Apart from that, Han Solo isn’t played by Harrison Ford anymore. Alden Ehrenreich is a good actor and he takes the part over well. He even shares enough resemblance with Harrison Ford to make it all seem legit, but when it comes down to it, it just feels like something is missing. The character is played differently. I’m not sure if Han Solo’s charm comes solely from Harrison Ford’s portrayal, or if the character is just not written to be a main protagonist in a feature film, but it feels somewhat forced. It feels like it was written as a stand alone movie with the intention of developing the characters without much thought having gone into how it fits into the rest of the series, and then was halfheartedly stitched in as an afterthought. The best way I can sum it up is to say that, in a vacuum, it’s a great movie. Walking out of the theater, the wow factor was good and I liked it a lot. It has good acting, incredible attention to detail, and a decent stand alone plot, but thinking about it more, you realize how it falls short when it comes to stitching it together with the rest of the Galaxy Far, Far Away.