Movie Review: Solo – A Star Wars Story

At last, there is now going to be a “Star Wars” movie that will delve into the origins and back-story of one of the series most favorite characters. This is a guy who is a mysterious loner with a just a hint of being a scoundrel. You know who I mean — Boba Fett. No wait, it’s not about the Fett-meiseter? It’s about Han Solo? Oh well, here is a new Star Wars movie about one of the original good guys…

Back in the first “Star Wars” (some people want to rename to “A New Hope” – fat chance!), there was smuggler and rogue who was the self-proclaimed best pilot in the universe. Han Solo was at home in a “wretched hive of scum and villainy” on the planet Tatooine where he could shoot first at Greedo. His co-pilot Chewbacca was a big walking carpet of a Wookie who is Han’s best friend and defender. But how did these two get started, and what the heck is a Kessel Run, you ask?

Back in earlier times, Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich) was scraping around for a living with a fellow survivor named Qi’ra (Emilia Clarke). They both try to escape, and only Han makes it. He meets a con man named Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson) and his crew. Beckett makes a living taking other people’s stuff. Han meets up with a very hairy Wookie named Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo) who first wants to fight him, but soon figures out that they both want to get out of a bad place. They join up with Beckett, but a major job goes very wrong. There is a major gangster to whom Beckett owes a great deal of money, and now he is very short. Han comes up with his own idea of how to fix that. Plus he finds that Qi’ra, whom Han thought was missing forever, was working for the crime boss, Dryden Vos (Paul Bettany).

But they need a fast ship, and Beckett knows just the man. He is a rogue smuggler and gambler named Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover). Lando has nice little ship called Millennium Falcon, which is the fastest around and good for moving contraband. Han and Chewy meet up with Lando, and Han tries to win the Falcon on the card table. Lando wins, but he wants in on the new heist. Han, Lando, Chewy and Beckett all go to a planet with resources, where they turn it into special fuel. It they can get the fuel back to Dryden Vos, thru the Kessel system, all within 12 parsecs – then you have new catch-phrase right there.

But which side is Beckett really on, and will Qi’ra still have any deep feelings for Han? Will the Rebel alliance on that little planet have any chance to get the help they need, or will Han keep only to himself? Are there any people who actually need to be shot first? Well, stick around and this movie will help you get the answers that you need. Maybe you did not know those answers before, but it would be more than enjoyable to learn them with this crew. Basically a space-based Western, with holdups, train robberies and outposts in the desert, this movie gets Han to wear a white hat in the end.

Alden Ehrenreich has a good deal of charm when he is playing Han. Woody Harrelson is a nice addition as a dubious mentor for the young Han. Donald Glover then really shines as Lando, and gets the most mileage out of the hot-shot gambler. Emilia Clarke and Paul Bettany play their roles OK, and Joonas Suotamo is really fun as everyone’s favorite Wookie.

Ron Howard deserves credit for taking over the duties for directing this movie, after it had gone a bit off track. But using the screenplay from Lawrence Kasdan (writer of some really fine Star Wars movies) and co-written with his son Jonathan, there is a good foundation for the film. And of John Powell comes through with the soundtrack, especially when he reuses a couple classic themes from John Williams.

So, the only thing left to say is – when that Boba Fett movie coming out?

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