We went to see Solo: A Star Wars Story opening weekend back at the end of May. The film’s production had a slightly troubled history. Lucasfilm dismissed original directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller due to creative differences (never a good sign) and Ron Howard was brought in to salvage the film. There were also rumors of necessary reshoots after principal photography was done. Still, you try to have a little hope. I’ve stated before that the Star Wars universe is rich with stories – between the Skywalker saga, the books and comics of the old Expanded Universe, the various animated series, plus the computer games. I’m good with bringing many of those stories to the big screen, or new stories from all sorts of characters from the corners of that galaxy. Tell a good story with interesting characters and you’ll do well.
Alden Ehrenreich plays the title character of Han Solo beginning with his early years on Corellia, a brief stint in the Imperial Army, and as a smuggler. The story tells it’s new canon origin story for how Han met Chewbacca, Lando Calrissian, and fell in love (?) with the Millennium Falcon. People may complain about origin stories or prequels, but I’ve never had a problem with them. Again, if it’s a good story etc, you should enjoy it anyway. The actors playing some of these beloved characters may never look exactly like the original actors, but I think there has to be a reasonable attempt.
The film begins with Han (Ehrenreich) and his friend Qi’ra (Emilia Clarke) on Corellia. They’re both members of a street gang composed of kids stealing equipment and pick pocketing, but both hoping to escape. Han eventually escapes by joining the Imperial Army, but he eventually meets Chewbacca and they strike out on their own. Along the way, they meet another gang led by Beckett (Woody Harrelson) who are trying to perform a heist from a speeding train on a mountain top.
Later, we’re introduced to other criminal organizations such as Crimson Dawn. There are no Jedi or Force users. Just regular people trying to hustle any way they can to survive. Sometimes you’re working on your own. Sometimes you’re part of a gang. Always hoping to score credits. The jobs / heists in this film don’t work out so there’s some of your drama and plot twists.
Speaking to friends who have seen the film, they either liked or hated Ehrenreich as Han Solo. He worked for me personally. Actually, I was pretty happy with the cast in general. I found elements of the story itself a little lacking, but not deal breakers. I think if it had a bit more development time, they could have made a better product. It’s an okay story supported by a good cast with a lot of charm. I hope they make additional films with these characters, but spend more time on the plot.