While Solo: A Star Wars Story may blow moviegoers away with its spectacular visuals, spot-on locations, and impressive cast; it tends to admit to its major flaw of narrative inefficiency and does too little in effectively emphasizing our beloved Han’s outlaw roots pre-A New Hope that the biggest fans of the original franchise would find significantly disappointing.
WARNING! MILD SPOILERS AHEAD!
Having to lie, cheat, and steal his way out of a hostile environment growing up, young Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich) found his resolve in obtaining a better life in the form of a female companion, Qi’ra (Emila Clarke), who would only later prove to be the primary cause of his trajectory towards becoming the galaxy’s most infamous hero-slash-outlaw.
Armed with nothing but wit and reckless cunningness, our protagonist finds himself working alongside notorious smugglers in a desperate attempt to prove himself all while discovering his true role in the events to come.
The film works best in highlighting how Han and everybody’s fluffy wookie Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo) came to be the most iconic duo the galaxy has ever known by tugging at our heartstrings and injecting sentimental precursors to an already cemented nostalgia brought about by the previous films.
From meeting for the first time inside a cage where one was meant to be food for the other, to finally flying a mildly recognized spacecraft; seeing them transition into the best of buddies we all know and love is nothing short of pure retrospective awesomeness.
It is also worth mentioning the epic scene where the audience is treated to the origin of the name “Solo”, which apparently is the brainchild of but a minor character strategically placed to give birth to the legendary moniker. A compelling dialogue that would make any casual fan go absolutely nuts.
Also adding to the story’s already familiar feels is fan favorite Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover), the charismatic gambler turned rebel ally and original owner of – yes, you guessed it – the Millennium Falcon. Accompanied by L3-37 (voiced by Phoebe Waller-Bridge), a droid that I would swear is more woke than anybody(thing) you know, the two would later carry a lot of scenes in providing the audience due entertainment that the rest of the cast fall noticeably short to accomplish as the story moves along.
By the end of the film, Glover’s impeccable impression of Billy Dee William’s classic take on the character surely leaves nothing to dislike, and L3’s aggressive existential awareness definitely speaks up on individuality and societal importance.
Where the plot massively fails, however, is its complete lack of depth in relating to the audience the key characters’ narrative effect on Han’s pivotal turn to self-reliance and cold social detachment. Qi’ra and Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson) provide a plausible enough backstory on Han’s emotional downward spiral but the way the events are presented exerts very little effort in helping moviegoers invest in and root for the poor guy’s tough road towards heroic infamy.
The movie plays well in repackaging an otherwise already well-known character by appealing to the fans the same action-packed formula, while also adding some new elements (a strong female persona, a wise-cracking four-armed alien, a will-he-won’t-he antagonist with anger management issues) that seem to work for a short while only to come out flat and flavorless by the time you finish your popcorn.
Solo is a movie that is sure to cater 165 minutes of nostalgic fanboy moments, but ultimately an origin story the galaxy won’t be able to not live without. Watch the trailer here:
Special thanks to PMCM Management and Resorts World Manila for the screening!