"I don’t know definitively if we needed it, but we've got it, and I’m glad we have! Well worth checking out"
When a Han Solo origin story was announced it was met with divisiveness in the Star Wars Fan Community; one side said we didn’t need it, the other was optimistic, and that seems to be what the Star Wars Fan Community is these days; two sides, loving and hating what is presented to us. When the announcement of Alden Ehrenreich as Han came, and the production being marred with issues on set, leading to the ousting of Phil Lord and Chris Miller, I remained optimistic throughout.
With that being said, I still fall on the optimistic side, it’s nice to see Star Wars back and the bad taste left by the prequel trilogy isn’t our last foray into the universe, which I’d say most are thankful for, so going in I was ready.
So Solo: A Star Wars Story opens on Corellia, a bleak and lived in area of the galaxy, ruled by a Criminal element, where we meet a young Han (Alden Ehrenreich), who thankfully is not doing a Harrison Ford impression, as he evades a local criminal gang, we also meet his love interest Qi'ra (Emilia Clarke) which leads to them evading their clutches in a stunning chase sequence that really pops in IMAX. As they try to bribe their way off Corellia, Qi'ra is apprehended and Han leaves, enlisting in the Imperial Navy as a flight cadet, with the intention of coming back for Qi'ra.
Fast forward 3 years, Han has been expelled from the academy and encounters Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson) and his small band of criminals, Beckett is posing as an Imperial Officer and has Han arrested and thrown into the pit where he encounters Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo), with Han able to speak Chewbacca's language, the pair devise a plan to escape the pit and leave with Beckett and his crew.
The crew travel to the planet Vandor to steal a shipment of coaxium, which leads to a spectacular sequence on a train, which takes full advantage of the IMAX format, as Beckett and his crew go toe to toe with Cloud Riders led by Enfys Nest (Erin Kellyman), leading to the destruction of the coaxium.
Reporting the mission failure to Dryden Vos (Paul Bettany), a high-ranking crime boss in the Crimson Dawn syndicate, a plot is hatched to steal unrefined coaxium from the mines on the planet Kessel to make up for the loss of the shipment, leading to a meeting with Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover) and an impressive and thrilling sequence involving the Millennium Falcon and the legendary Kessel run where Han pilots the Falcon on a dangerous route through an uncharted maelstrom to elude an Imperial blockade to land on the planet Savareen to process the coaxium before it explodes. As Han and Chewbacca live on in the main Star Wars saga, the stakes here are minimal, but the sequence is no less thrilling with L3 transplanted into the Falcon to navigate the harsh environment.
With its mix of science fiction and western, I would describe Solo: A Star Wars Story as a fun and thrilling entry in the Star Wars canon, characters such as L3 (Phoebe Waller-Bridge) and Chewbacca are the stand outs for me, with Glover just showing what a treasure he is, a true talent as he portrays Lando, again making it his own and not doing an impersonation of the legendary Billy Dee Williams. With great performances across the board from the rest of the cast, no one stands out like a sore thumb or took me out of it, I just enjoyed the ride. The music provided by John Powell and John Williams is a great accompaniment to proceedings.
In a world divided as to whether we needed a Han Solo solo outing or not, Ron Howard and his creative team have produced a worthy addition to the Star Wars legacy. I don’t know definitively if we needed it, but we've got it, and I’m glad we have! Well worth checking out.