REVIEW: ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’ doesn’t quite capture the magic of its predecessors


SOLO Poster

Alex Novak

The always energized “Star Wars” franchise is back with its attempt at a summer blockbuster with the next entry to its new anthology series.

“Solo: A Star Wars Story” is likely to captivate audiences new to the franchise and mildly entertain its die-hard fans alike as we meet a young Han Solo and discover his beginnings and journey to becoming the scoundrel smuggler evading Jabba the Hutt in “Star Wars,” in 1977.

Directed by Ron Howard and starring Alden Ehrenreich as the famous title character along with Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke and Donald Glover, “Solo: A Star Wars Story” tells the tale of a young Han Solo attempting to earn money to buy a ship to start a free life with his childhood friend and romantic interest, Qi’ra (Clarke).  

The film, as a result of Solo and his adventurous approach, is a meaningful reason for the film’s entertaining action sequences throughout, teaming up with Tobias Beckett (Harrelson), a criminal, and meeting Chewbacca along the way.

It contains impressive originality and creativity with its action sequences as a result, mixed seamlessly into its run-of-the-mill story pieces that drive it forward and make it nothing short of an overall fun moviegoing experience.

Furthermore, as is custom with a Star Wars film, the visual effects are consistently an exceedingly impressive addition to the outstanding technical components of the movie. Particularly, the action sequence in which Solo masterfully pilots the Millenium Falcon through the infamous “Kessel Run” in less than 20 parsecs.

Additionally, the nontraditional score composed by John Powell is a welcomed touch that drives the plot forward and assists in keeping its pacing, which can be stagnant at times, from becoming noticeably flawed.

The film, however, lacks a cohesive connection to the franchise and its already existing substance so much it raises valid questions as to its reason to be made and true importance to both the galaxy’s story and Solo’s backstory.

Whether or not the movie is meaningful to the narrative of eight other films and one entirely connected anthology film already in 2016’s “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” the film is carried by the many notable performances from its cast, especially those delivered by Clarke, Glover as a young Lando Calrissian, and Ehrenreich, who is able to capture that same gunslinger mentality and fiery recklessness in the footsteps of Harrison Ford.

Ehrenreich is unable to live up entirely to an actor and character with such a rich legacy, but he is undoubtedly able to convince fans that the dots connect between a Han Solo becoming himself in this movie and the character we all know and love from the original trilogy.

With a spellbinding story and an ending with a few interesting surprises, “Solo: A Star Wars Story” provides an entertaining addition to the franchise. It will remind fans of the greatness that this franchise started on and has continued to tell into this new era of Star Wars thrills and Jedi fanfare, despite failing to capture the same magic that it almost always delivers.

Alex Novak is an entertainment reviewer. Contact him at [email protected].