by Russel Irons ’19
“Solo: A Star Wars Story,” directed by Ron Howard, is a great addition to the Star Wars franchise. Howard took over directing after the original directors left the project due to creative differences with Lucasfilms, and he reshot most of the film. “Solo” had the lowest box office opening in the franchise, but Star Wars films set the bar high. The film is closer to a space western than a space opera, and is full of gunfights, high speed chases, and crime.
“Solo” takes place before “Episode IV: A New Hope.” The film explores Han’s hard life on Corellia, and his trials and tribulations after leaving his home world. Throughout the film, Han changes and learns as his experiences shape him. “Solo” develops Han into a very three dimensional character.
While the film is named for and centered around Han Solo, the side characters shine. Lando’s droid companion L3-37 is witty and brings up the prevalent side topic of droids and how human they are. The younger Lando Calrissian is played by the multi-talented Donald Glover (also known as Childish Gambino). His portrayal of Lando is in line with the character, and the dynamic between Lando and L3-37 is one of the better aspects of the film.
Han Solo is played by Alden Ehrenreich, whose previous biggest role was in the comedy film “Hail, Caesar!” Many worried his portrayal would fall short of Harrison Ford’s iconic role, but Ehrenreich nails it even if the portrayal of the character is distinctly different from the one in the original trilogy. Ehrenreich’s Han Solo is naïve and stubborn. He learns everything the hard way and he’s easy to sympathize with.
The 135-minute experience tells a fulfilling and exciting story, and has lots of action alongside emotional moments. Towards the end, “Solo” contains a moment that will make any fan’s jaw drop, and has great implications in the greater Star Wars plot. “Solo” carries many connections to the expanded universe and other movies, which make the movie much better when they are understood. Therefore, more casual viewers will likely derive less enjoyment. Despite this, “Solo” tells a stellar story that is easy to follow and brings back the nostalgia of a classic Star Wars experience.