In the days leading up to watching the film dedicated to the galaxy's most loveable smuggler, I’d read mainly positive comments and reviews. The second of Disney’s origin type Star Wars stories is highly entertaining and gives a fresh, deeper dive the galaxy far, far away.
It is no secret that this film was plagued with issues during the production process. Despite the changing of director, the hard work of the people behind the scenes has helped those on screen to create a unique film which slips in well with the expanding star wars universe as well as being a standalone film.
The casting within the film was spot on, my particular favourite being Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian. He’s shown to be a cunning and charming guy who has made his fortunes in mysterious ways; our first meeting with him foreshadows the card game which essentially brings the most famous ship in Star Wars into Han Solo’s hands. He tries his best to get one over on Han and it really shows how the relationship we are familiar with in the original trilogy was created.
The film included gems which would have been rewarding to Star Wars fans young and old. The reference to Scarif, the origins of Hans’ full name and the surprise appearance of a Sith Lord from days gone by made for interesting viewing and helped this film to fit in seamlessly to the rich Star Wars tapestry.
Alden Ehrenreich was of course the man in the spotlight but despite this, he was one of the less familiar faces on screen. Being shown the early years of Solo was superb, but what topped it was the performance by Ehrenreich as this raw and rugged young Solo. It showed the confidence and fortunes of a man who has seemingly always talked himself out of tough situations.
Qi’ra, played by Emilia Clarke whom will be familiar to the millions of Game of Thrones fans, leads us on a rollercoaster. Starting off as the lover of Solo, we see how she has changed a hell of a lot by the time the film concludes. It’s almost heartbreaking, things turn so very sinister and her relationship with the Sith Lord shows how this film can become embedded in Star Wars canon.
One relationship which can’t not be addressed is that of Han and Chewbacca. This was the first chronologically ordered meeting of the classic duo and it’s the first of many occasions they get out of a tough situation as Han is locked away with Chewy. Here, he is dubbed "the beast" by Empire soldiers and obviously looks like he’s had a rough time in captivity so far. Knowing he came from being an empire prisoner to one of the most significant characters in the rebellion is a fantastic character development from the people behind the scenes.
The man who perhaps shaped Han into the more familiar original trilogy smuggler we are familiar with has a big part to play. Tobias Becket, played by Woody Harrelson, first comes across as a proud leader and his words to Han about expecting everyone to betray him come full circle. Unfortunately, it was Becket and Qi’ra who let Han down the most by the conclusion. Leaving Han with just his new friend Chewbacca for a good few years until any more Skywalkers come about.
This film has its fair share of action, heart break, tension, and a surprising amount of romance compared to other Star Wars films. We do see a lot about the early years of Han Solo and how he got his hands on his ship and the life which was first shown to us by Harrison Ford’s depiction. It ticks all the boxes for me of what I wanted from this film and despite the risk it almost never happened it will go down as a cherished part of the Star Wars saga. It isn’t perfect and it isn’t on par with Rogue One but Solo is rewarding for all fans and hopefully we won’t have to wait too long for another film of its type. Perhaps a 120-minute dedication to Obi Wan Kenobi? Just a thought...