Review by Bradley Smith
Prequels can be tricky. You take one or more characters from an established series and flashback to a point before established events. It can be interesting and fun to fill in reference points (half the movie leads up to that one Han line from the first Star Wars – you know which one if you’re into this series), but an action adventure film can fall short on thrills because you more or less know where the characters end up.
Solo has that problem. Solo is a prequel to Star Wars and follows a young Han Solo as he acquires his best friend and ship while trying to rescue a love interest that is not present for other films, Qi’ra (Emilia Clarke). There is little in terms of suspense or surprises. Even the trailer includes a scene that tries to thrill the audience with a shot of Chewbacca about to crash into a wall of rocks while hanging off the side of a train, but you know exactly how the clip ends, especially while watching the movie and seeing Han is right next to him. Both of these characters will live through whatever this movie puts them through, but just about everyone else is a different story. And since they are new characters that don’t appear in future stories, it’s tough to get emotionally invested.
On the plus side, there is plenty of comedy; most of which is funny. And it is interesting to see how Han and Chewbacca meet and subsequently become friends. The actors are great as well.
Alden Ehrenreich takes over the titular role made famous by Harrison Ford. Seeing Ehrenreich’s name reminds me of his first line after he learns Chewbacca’s name, “you’re going to need a nickname cause I’m not saying that every time” (may not be exact word for word). Anyway, I can’t speak for devoted Star Wars fans, but I enjoyed his performance, especially when teamed up with Chewbacca or Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover). Woody Harrelson is Han’s mentor, of sorts; there’s a twist that I didn’t really expect, but wasn’t all that surprising. And good to see Paul Bettany with his skull in tact; though he’s not a good guy in this.
Overall, I enjoyed the story, despite the inherent flaws. Getting into some hotter months, this film would be great way to cool down.