Solo: A Star Wars Story
Length: 135 minutes / 2.25 hours
Most superhero franchises start with an origin story. Sure, sometimes the franchise gets to this foundational plot after its first set of films (a la X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)), but these movies are usually pretty rare. Unfortunately, they’re also hampered by the source material that preceded them. While not necessarily “prequels,” these films need to fit within the canon of the franchise while also telling a story that expands the canon as well. Star Wars is not a superhero franchise, but it has its fair share of prequels and origin stories. Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) is the first to focus on a specific character, though.
With Han Solo being such an iconic and fan-favorite character, there was plenty to pull from to expand out his backstory. Unfortunately, most people will only recognize Harrison Ford as the “true” Han Solo, and this film gives them some ammunition for that. Sure, Alden Ehrenreich does a passable job and looks like he could be a younger version of 1970’s Harrison Ford, but there’s still something missing in his performance. Even Donald Glover’s Lando Calrissian is pretty good but is still just Donald Glover doing his best impersonation. I get that it’s not logical to cast the original actors in these roles, but for fans who grew up with them, there’s a particular power from the nostalgia that’s difficult to overcome.
What also hampers Solo is what I like to call the “prequel checklist.” Essentially, every reference that Han Solo made in the original Star Wars trilogy is packaged up and crammed into this film. From the Kessel Run to how he obtained the Millennium Falcon, each set piece is meant to explain something that had only been a passing mention almost 40 years ago. All this being said, Solo is still a pretty fun film, filled with great visuals, a few original (and entertaining) characters, and a shocking reveal at the end. It’s just that, if you went into this film with no knowledge of the source material, you’d likely be very lost.
An attempt to cash in on an iconic character’s backstory, I give Solo: A Star Wars Story 3.0 stars out of 5.