Swanner: “Solo” is another entry into filling in the missing pieces of the Star Wars story. Like “Rogue One”, its time line is pre “A New Hope”. This shows us a young Han Solo, taking him from a boy on the streets of Corellia to pulling off the legendary Kessel run in 12 parsecs. We also see how Han meets Chewbacca and wins the Millennium Falcon from Lando Calrissian. We get a lot of boxes to check off, but we also get a complete story with new characters we haven’t been introduced to before.
The biggest problem you are going to have with this film, both as an audience member or filmmaker, is finding someone to play a young Han Solo. Harrison Ford’s portrayal is so iconic that it’s nearly impossible to do. Alden Ehrenreich does a good job trying to give us someone real without trying to do a flat out impression. He does have his go to Han Solo one liners but otherwise he gives a performance that had me forgetting I wasn’t seeing Harrison Ford. The rest of the cast is terrific including Woody Harrelson, Joonas Suotamo (Chewbacca), Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover, Thandie Newton, and Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who voices the amazing L3-37.
There had been talk that the film wasn’t going to work, but I think director Ron Howard and screenwriters Jonathan and Lawrence Kasdan give us a solid piece of the Star Wars puzzle. I enjoyed watching the film with a full audience and hearing the excitement as Chewbacca and Lando are introduced; or seeing Lando’s cape closet: so many capes. Like the rest of the series, this film is fun and a great way to kick off summer.
Swanner: 3 1/2 stars