When I first heard that Solo: A Star Wars Story was being made, I wasn’t quite sure how I felt about it.
My first question was: Is this really a story that needs to be told?
My son, Jon and I were discussing this very thing as we drove to the screening of the film – about an hour and a half away. (In California we measure distances by drive time, but that’s not important right now.)
All of us who are Star Wars fans can agree that Han Solo is one of the most beloved galactic characters in the history of the franchise. But is Han Solo’s backstory worth exploring?
Solo: A Star Wars Story is more like an old-school heist/caper movie, but set (obviously) “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.” It is not burdened with any of the high expectations fans may have had going into the other Star Wars movies and Director Ron Howard makes this film feel young and hip, much like the dashing leading man.
Alden Ehrenreich steps in to fill Harrison Ford’s boots to bring the young Han Solo to life. He pulls it off with a great deal of roguish panache and makes the role his own, while giving us a compelling backstory on how Han got to where he was when we met him in Star Wars: A New Hope.
The story begins on Han’s home planet of Correllia, where our unlikely hero is barely scraping by as a thief in the gutters of that planet. But he’s always on the lookout for the bigger score. He dreams of making a ton of money, getting a fancy space ship and whisking his first true love, Q’ira (played by the lovely Emilia Clarke) off to see the galaxy.
His ambitions keep getting tripped up by his tendency to get into ever deepening amounts of trouble. He eventually falls in with a gang of space bandits led by Beckett (Woody Harrelson) who attempt to score a huge load of a space fuel called coaxium to appease the crime boss to top all crime bosses, the murderous Dryden Vos, expertly played by a creepy Paul Bettany.
There’s a lot of action and a lot of great story packed into the film, which makes the long running time easily tolerable.
And backstory? It’s so deliciously satisfying to watch Han and Chewie (Joonas Suotamo) meet for the first time. We get to watch Han forge and establish a relationship with Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover). We cheer when Han gets his familiar blaster. And, of course, we thrill at the first sighting of the beloved Millennium Falcon.
How exactly was the Kessel Run made in less than 12 parsecs? This age-old question is finally answered.
All of this is done with great humor and lots of action. This is an excellent old-school, pass-the-popcorn summer movie.
Buckle in, friends because it’s going to be one heck of a ride.
Solo: A Star Wars Story opens in theaters everywhere on May 25th, 2018.