'Solo: A Star Wars Story' is a fun romp

Do I go to the bathroom now or do I have to stay until after the credits? Everybody, everybody was brought in and he was so engaged with what people had to say and their opinions. There is plenty to like about Solo.

This tidbit comes courtesy of Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen), who's been doing approximately 30 interviews per day during the lead-up to the world premiere of Solo: A Star Wars Story.

Perhaps the most "western" of all the adventures since the original, Solo clearly tries to ape Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy's knockabout swagger and strangely evokes memories of David Lynch's much-maligned Dune with its battle for a particular resource (Paul Bettany channelling Sting as the film's chief bad guy doesn't help shake those comparisons). It's just not exciting. It also introduces Donald Glover as a young Lando Calrissian, a smooth smuggler and frenemy of Han Solo. I've never been in a movie this big. Anyway, more on Lando later.

A nonsense line from the 1977 picture about how the Millennium Falcon "made the Kessel run in under 12 parsecs" becomes the motor for a hugely entertaining heist and ensuing chase sequence that makes up this movie's midsection, enlisting Donald Glover's smooth-talking Lando, and his sassy, independent-minded droid (voiced by the very amusing Phoebe Waller-Bridge) under the supervision of Bettany's deadly chief lieutenant Qi'ra (an unconvincing Emilia Clarke) who just so happens to be Han's childhood sweetheart. Han is a thief, he's a getaway driver, and he's on the run. Well, friends might be too strong a word for this specific movie, but they will be best buds eventually!

He makes it out. We then fast forward to Han on the battlefield, where we see his trademark wit and contempt for authority shine. The two writers and Howard toss their characters all over that galaxy of a long time ago and far, far away, and do so in traditional Star Wars style.

Still, the movie generates a decent amount of goodwill, and after a couple of hours under the hood, Howard gets it running.

Alden Ehrenreich as Han Solo with Joonas Suotamo as Chewbacca in
Alden Ehrenreich as Han Solo with Joonas Suotamo as Chewbacca in"Solo A Star Wars Story

Harrison Ford as Han Solo brandishing the blaster. Even though the set pieces are huge, nothing really feels at stake and no character truly stands out in the barrage of CGI.

Unfortunately for all the depth of Lando, there isn't much to the younger Han, and there is downright nothing interesting going on with Qi'ra.

However, while Solo's setting and time period probably had a lot of fans expecting appearances from Original Trilogy icons the new Star Wars standaloneactually pulls out a bigger twist, revealing the big villain from the Star Wars Prequels (as well as the Clone Wars and Rebels animated series) as a surprising part of its storyline.

Much like its protagonist, "Solo: A Star Wars Story" has had a insane journey. There are a lot of sex jokes. Sometimes I was flying from Atlanta and I still had purple on me by the time I got to the makeup trailer to turn into Dryden Vos.

Val: Precious little is known about this character, and this is unfortunate as being aware of Thandie Newton's work (read excellent) in Westworld, there is a reason to think that she may end up stealing the limelight from better-known actors.

There are enough charming moments in Solo that I felt like I walked out of an overall charming experience. Not regarding L3-37 becoming the Falcon's identity (though that could change the way you watch the other movies).

  • Salvatore Jensen