"Solo: A Star Wars Story" Film Review
By: Nathaniel Simpson
"Solo: A Star Wars Story" is a very unnecessary prequel. We didn't need a film on the origins of Han Solo and his former lover. Yet, with this being said, it's not a necessarily bad film. It definitely has its flaws, but definitely not as bad as it could have been.
The film follows Han (played by Alden Ehrenreich) trying to find and save his girlfriend Qi'ra (Emilia Clarke) from the forces of the Empire. He meets fellow smuggler Tobias (Woody Harrelson) while working in the Imperial Navy. They start to work on different missions together to smuggle coaxium to the highest bidder.
This film does have some scenes that felt like payoffs and crowd pleasers for longtime Star Wars fans. These include the first meeting between Han and Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo) and the card game between Han and Lando Calrissian for the Millennium Falcon. Director Ron Howard shoots and directs these scenes so well that every Star Wars fans has a smile on their face watching them.
However, I was personally not a fan of the Han Solo portrayal in this film. Ehrenreich did a great job with what he was given, but nothing about his portrayal shows the Han Solo we all know and love. He doesn't seem like the cocky smuggler and pilot from the original trilogy, who was played by the wonderful Harrison Ford. Some of the choices and behaviors present in this film don't represent the ways Han acted during the events of the films that came years before.
Some of the other characters in this film are just not rememberable or special. Qi'ra is odd, and does things that contradict her beliefs throughout the film. Tobias is just the usual middle aged man in a film that turns evil towards the end. The main villain of this film, Dyden Vos (Paul Bettany), is one of the worst Star Wars villains in the live action films. Bettany tried his best with what he was given, but he just isn't interesting for a "Star Wars" villain.
I think Howard tried to make the best Star Wars film he could after being brought in and reshooting most of the film. However, this decision by Lucasfilm wasn't the wisest as the film just didn't work. Perhaps if Lucasfilm had given Howard the time he needed and pushed the release date back to December, this film could have been a great Han Solo origin film. But, I guess we'll never know.