Reel Shorts | Solo: A Star Wars Story

by Monica Hayes

Ron Howard’s Han Solo: A Star Wars Story is the most anticipated film in the series, is here and it is a wild ride.

Solo opens on the planet Corellia where children are forced into a life of crime. Anxious to leave this wretched life, Han (Alden Ehrenreich) and Qi’ra (Emilia Clarke) have launched a daring plan to barter vile of Coaxium hyper fuel in exchange for passage off the planet. Their plan leads them on a high-speed chase through the streets of Corellia in a stolen speeder barely escaping Lady Proxima (Linda Hunt) and her goons. Eventually, they are separated while trying to pass through one of several checkpoints at the terminal. Han vows to come back to save Qi’ra once he gets a ship.

The adventures really begin when Han and Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo) meet and team up with smuggler/thief Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson) his girlfriend Val (Thandie Newton) and Rio (Jon Favreau). The rag-tag team plan to heist a shipment of the precious Coaxium, but things don’t go according to plan. Now, they owe the boss of the Red Dawn Clan, Dryden Vos (Paul Bettany) for the lost shipment. To make it up for the lost shipment, the crew plan another more dangerous heist. Not taking any chances with Tobias and his crew, Vos sends his top Lieutenant, Qi’ra to make sure things go as planned. Once the crew is set, they now need to get a fast ship. Enter Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover). The rest, as they say, is history and the fun really begins.

Compared to the last Star Wars stand-alone Rouge One, Solo is light-hearted and not as serious. Where Rouge explained the events that lead to Star Wars: New Hope, Solo is not that serious. Come on, we’re talking about Han Solo, the fast-talking scoundrel, and smuggler before he became a respected member of the resistance. Ehrenreich did a great job bringing that Han air to life. The further we get into the movie, the lines begin to blur and you can see him morph into the older Han we have come to know and love in Harrison Ford.

Solo also does an excellent job of explaining how he got his hot little hands on the Millennium Falcon, the fastest ship in the galaxy that made the Kessel run in less than 12 parsecs. Speaking of the Falcon, Glover’s depiction of Lando Calrissian as the smooth-talking, cavalier ex-smuggler who turned to the sport of gambling and a love of capes is spot on. Just as with Ehrenreich, the further we get into the movie, the more the lines blur you begin to see the older Lando (Billy Dee Williams).

Solo answers a lot of questions from the previous movies and there are a lot of nods to previous movies. However, there are new questions that unless there is a sequel, will remain unanswered. One burning question is about Emilia Clarke’s Qi’ra. Once she and Han are separated, we don’t see her again until she is with Dryden Vos as his top Lieutenant. While she is a badass, not much information is given about what happened to her after she was separated, or how she came into Vos’ crew.

Howard, who took over the director’s chair from Phil Lord and Chris Miller, brings his experience and journeyman touch to the film. Given the behind the scenes issues, Solo doesn’t wow audiences, but it works and it works well! Kudos to Howard for being able to wrangle all the differences and issues into one cohesive film. Then again, its Ron Howard, would you expect anything less?

Overall, Solo is an awesome movie to watch and even more fun to experience. Just so you know, there is a surprise twist at the end that had this Star Wars geek’s jaw on the floor! Go see it, trust you will enjoy!

Grade B