This Is Corellia, Don’t Catch You Slipping Up.
When rumors started to spread about a spin-off Han Solo film the obvious questions quickly followed: “what kind of film will it be?” perhaps a traditional Star Wars film, or a crime movie, or a heist film. But Solo, it turns out, is an origin story inspired by these and many more, it’s a heist film, a gangster movie and an action thriller, with a good pinch of The Fast and Furious and Mad Max thrown in for good measure and all this while still managing to fit perfectly into the Star Wars franchise.
This is not, however, the Star Wars you may be instantly familiar with, Solo at first shuns the intergalactic fantasy for a more gritty industrial setting, and it uses this setting to establish the dirty underworld that our main protagonists exist within. Where Rogue One wanted to introduce shades of grey and humanise all the sides of the story, Solo instead wants to bring it down to a human level and explore what it’s like to live under the terrifying oppression of the totalitarian empire, and when it does stray into more traditional Star Wars territory the oppression and the underworld is still there following and shaping our heroes throughout.
But whether fantastical or gritty, what makes the world of Star Wars is its inhabitants and in Solo the inhabitants are as good as they come and the actors behind them are equally on point. The entire main cast is constantly stealing scenes out from under each other. Harrelson, Glover, Waller-Bridge and Bettany are as charismatic as they are morally flexible. But special praise has to be given to Alden Ehrenreich who has done a fantastic job of fitting into the shoes of one of the most beloved characters in cinema history. You will come away feeling that given time he could truly grow into being Harrison Ford’s rendition of the character and that is quite an achievement for such a young talent.
When you talk about this film you have to talk about it in terms of moments, the core story has its ups and downs but the key moments of it are absolutely the high points of the film. The inciting moment in the first act is timed perfectly and will instantly grab an audience investing them in the narrative. The moments that punctuate the start and ending of each act are equally impressive, making it very clear that the film is going somewhere you really didn’t expect it to go and keeping you invested each time. But for hardcore Star Wars fans it’s the moment at the end of the film you’ll likely be talking about when the credits roll, it’s a massive risk for this film to take and it’s one of the most exciting moments Star Wars has had since its triumphant return. If you’re looking for this franchise to surprise you and excite you in equal measure then do not sleep on Solo, this moment is exactly what you’re looking for.
In a year of giant high budget franchise outings Solo was very easily the least anticipated of its peers and the stories of its troubled production issues on set didn’t help it. It’s ironic then that Solo succeeds where its biggest rival fails; it takes the established formula of Star Wars and does something truly new and exciting with it. You know these characters for the most part, you know the majority of their stories but you aren’t expecting the story that Solo tells and you certainly aren’t expecting the story it sets up for the future of the franchise. It’s a bold, fun, vibrant story that does exactly what it needed to do and just a little bit more.