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Solo: A Stars Wars Story (Review)

Solo: A Star Wars Story, is the second anthology movie of the Star Wars franchise, and fourth since Disney bought the right in 2012, was released this weekend and I took my son Samuel to see it. It is an old-school blockbuster movie that is very entertaining. The movie runs 135 minutes and is rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi action and violence. One of the first things Sam said about the movie was that he loved the plot twists.

To paraphrase Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover) in the movie, everything I am about to tell you about the movie is true.

Han Solo, originally portrayed by Harrison Ford in 1977’s Star Wars: A New Hope through 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens, is played by Alden Ehrenreich. Despite a suspect script, Ehrenreich delivers in his role as young Han. It seems there may be a series of Han Solo movies in the future as Ehrenreich is signed up for three films.

‘Solo’ had a lot of trouble on its way to the big screen as original directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller were fired with less than three weeks to go before filming was finished. Veteran director Ron Howard was brought in as a replacement and reshot much of the film. The model of the old-school blockbuster is all over ‘Solo,’ in part thanks to Ron Howard’s history with George Lucas and a script written by Star Wars franchise veteran Lawrence Kasdan and his son Jonathan.

The story starts with crime syndicates seemingly running things on each planet and across the galaxy. Han is running scams on the streets of Corellia with a vision of the freedom of having his own ship and serving no masters. He leaves his love Qi’ra (Emilia Clarke) on Corellia in his attempt to make it out. He joins the Empire to become a pilot and yearns to earn enough money to make it back to Corellia to make it right.

Along the way, he meets Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo), a Wookie held captive by the Empire. We quickly get to see how Han learned of Chewbacca’s very special skill – ripping the arms off any man. They both then join a band of thieves led by Tomas Beckett (Woody Harrelson) who are off to pull off a major heist of refined hyper fuel. The heist is one of the most thrilling scenes in the movie. The heist doesn’t go well when a band of marauders shows up to hijack the heist. Turns out, the heist was part of a debt Beckett owed to Dryden Vos.

While Beckett meets with Vos, Han runs into Qi’ra, his former flame who he left of Corellia. Beckett and his crew find themselves doubling down on the debt owed to Dryden Vos (Paul Bettany), the leader of crime syndicate Crimson Dawn. Beckett and Han negotiate with Vos to be spared until they pull off a bigger job with the help of one of Qi’ra’s old friends Lando Calrissian and his fast ship the Millenium Falcon.

During the heist, we see the origins of many of some of the most famous original Star Wars references and we get to meet one of my favorite characters in the movie, L3-37 (a 1980’s internet reference). The thieves pull off the heist but not without more plot twists. We’re left at the end with each of the thieves double-crossing the other and Qi’ra assuming power in Crimson Dawn (with a quick Darth Maul cameo) which has fans questioning whether she is the mother of Rey from Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

All in all, ‘Solo’ is a terrific movie that Sam and I thoroughly enjoyed with a solid ensemble cast. I left thinking I wouldn’t mind a sequel.

 

 

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