“If you come with us, you’re in this life for good,” a character tells Solo. The movie is here to tell us just what it was that set Han on the path that led him to join the Rebellion all those years later. Han Solo has always been one of the most interesting and intriguing characters in the Star Wars universe. While a part of me was overjoyed to learn about his past, I was mostly very neutral about the movie. Ron Howard’s Solo: A Star Wars Story tells the story of a young Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich), trying to connect the pieces and fill up stories teased in the past (or, well, the future) but we never really feel like we meet the guy we love.
But that doesn’t mean the movie falls short. A worthy sidekick to its parent Star Wars franchise, the movie starts with young Han Solo trying to make an escape with his girlfriend Qi’ra (Emilia Clarke) from their home planet Corellia. The scene feels more Fast and Furious than Star Wars. Refusing to give up on their dream for a happily ever after, Han enlists into the military in a futile effort to become a pilot, until he joins a band of thieves. The aim is simple – get the money, buy a ship and rescue the girl. It doesn’t quite go that way, but then again, does it ever?
As the story hurtles along, we meet many interesting characters including but not limited to Beckett (Woody Harrelson), Dryden Vos (Paul Bettany) and Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover), the original owner of Millennium Falcon. The movie adheres to the rules and limitations set by previous Star Wars movies, it draws on references for what is already familiar, and exploring the galaxy remains as entertaining and dangerous as ever. As it invokes parallels to the original Star Wars trilogy, the golden dice make enough appearances to remind us just where this journey eventually takes us.
But there are lulls in the movie as well, giving you too much time to think. It can be blamed on a rather predictable storyline with the major plot points spaced too far apart to make up for it. It’s captivating to see the early character arc for Solo, to see how his friendship developed with Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo) and his acquisition of the Millennium Falcon. But the character development seems too disconnected from the story that we are being told. Maybe because the movie is too aware of the fact that its focus lies outside of that and it’s here only to give some answers.
So as I walked out I was intrigued, glad to have been a journey with young Han Solo and his team. So hold on to your seats because, among all that you expect, the movie holds some interesting surprises for Star Wars fans.