Thursday, May 24, 2018

Spoiler-Free Review for Solo: A Star Wars Story

It is time to return to a galaxy far, far away in Solo: A Star Wars Story.

You may have heard of the troubles during production of this film but I will tell  you that after watching it, I did not get any sense of a troubled production. You do not get any sense that this is the vision of several different directors. There are also no problems in any of the performances either.

The film is what you expect from a summer film and from a Star Wars film. It is a fun adventure film, filled with action and humor, a simple plot and great performances from the cast. Alden shows why he was picked to fill in the iconic shoes of Han Solo. He provides a strong performance with incredible charm as one would expect from a younger Han Solo. Thankfully Alden's performance does not mimic Harrison Ford's and Alden really makes it his own. This will be important as we get into sequel talk. Without going into spoiler territory, the events of the film literally demands a sequel.

Emilia Clarke as Qi'ra is fantastic. We are introduced to her as being part of Han's early life. While we only learn bits and pieces of her background I hope we get to learn more about her in a sequel. Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian is perfectly cast. Donald brings the swagger to this younger version of Lando. His performance opens the door for more of Lando in a sequel or a possible stand-alone Lando movie. L3-37 voiced by Phoebe Waller-Bridge is the perfect match for the egos of both Lando and Han. Her interactions with Lando are scene-stealers. Woody Harrelson plays Tobias, a bad person who sometimes does good things or a good person who does bad things. I am not entirely certain which way he leans and not quite sure he knows either. Val is played by Thandie Newton and is the most daring character of them all. She is also the least trusting of others but loyal to a fault. Chewbacca is played to perfection by Jonas Suotamo. His body language more than tells you what Chewie is feeling and going through. A wonderful introduction to one of the best friends and partners in the Star Wars Universe. Paul Bettany plays Dryden who is more or less the villain. While not in the film for long periods of time, Bettany more than takes advantage of his screen time. Last but not least is Rio voiced by Jon Favreau who provides some humor and a cool character as well.

With a solid cast and script, Ron Howard took a troubled film shoot that was already five months into filming and shot for four months to create a film that is closer to the vibe of the original trilogy. There is also the feel of a space western as I think of Han Solo as a space cowboy. There are definite nods to the western genre not including their version of the train robbery as shown in the trailers, gunfights, a gambler, soldiers fighting and more. And with the film set up for at least one sequel I am sure they will expand on this western theme.

The action is huge and intense. The one massive action piece that we know we are getting as Star Wars fans is a visual tour-de-force. You will be blown away by the visual effects!

Solo: A Star Wars Story brings more than we could have ever wanted. We get to see old friends in familiar settings that we had only heard stories or mentions about in previous films. There is a whole new story to tell and there are plenty of secrets that will hopefully be revealed in another Solo movie.

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