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Summer Blockbusters 2018: Solo: A Star Wars Story

Alden Ehrenreich and Joonas Suotamo in Solo A Star Wars Story.

Solo: A Star Wars Story


As I have previously mentioned, I am an admitted Star Wars nerd.  It was the first movie I saw in a theatre, and I will be there to watch every one moving forward.

Solo: A Star Wars Story is no different.  The movie stars Alden Ehrenreich as Han, Donald Glover of ATL fame as Lando Calrissian, Emilia Clarke of Game of Thrones as Qi’ra, Woody Harrelson as Beckett, Thandie Newton of WestWorld as Val, Joonas Suotamo as Chewbacca, and Paul Bettany of Avengers fame as Dryden Vox.  It is directed by the legendary Ron Howard.

This Star Wars movie takes place 10 years before the original Star Wars: A New Hope and answers many of the questions that us Star Wars buffs have had about the enigmatic scoundrel smuggler, Han Solo.  We learn how he gets his name, how he meets his trusted side-kick Chewbacca, how he gets the Millennium Falcon from his “trusted” friend Lando Calrissian, what the heck the Kessel Run is that Han has mentioned in almost every other movie he is in, and how impressively fast 12 parsecs is in a space ship.

This movie takes us on a topsy-turvy adventure through the eyes of a young Han Solo.  We follow Han as he escapes from the fascist planet Corellia, where orphaned children are made to steal to survive.  Han and his girlfriend Qi’ra plan an escape by trading some stolen coaxium (a powerful hyperspace fuel) for transport off the dreadful planet. The pair’s plan is foiled, and only Han can escape, leaving Qi’ra to be apprehended.

Han reluctantly leaves the planet and Qi’ra, vowing one day to return and rescue her.  He enlists in the Imperial Navy (Say it ain’t so Han!) as a means of making money to return and retrieve Qi’ra.  Three years later Han is kicked out of the Imperial Navy for insubordination (shocker….) and he sets off to retrieve Qi’ra from Corellia.

Young Han, thirsty for adventure and glory, hooks up with a band of galactic smugglers.  Included in this Motley Crew is a charismatic scoundrel smuggler named Beckett (Can you say Han Mentor?), his wife Val, and a 196-year-old Wookie named Chewbacca.  They come up with a plan to travel to the planet Vandor-1 to steal a batch of valuable coaxium for the Crimson Dawn crime boss Dryden Vos.

A competitive smuggler Enfys Nest and his Cloud Riders learn of Beckett’s plan.  He kills most of their crew and destroy all the coaxium meant for Vos.  Han meets with Vos and comes up with a plan to get more unmined coaxium from the dangerous mine planet of Kessel.  While on Vos’ yacht he learns that Qi’ra has joined the Crimson Dawn and is his top lieutenant!  Vos agrees to Han’s plan, but insists on Qi’ra accompanying the smuggler team.

Qi’ra leads them to an accomplished smuggler (Lando Calrissian) with plans of borrowing his ship for the mission.  Han challenges Lando to (the now infamous) game of sabacc, with the wager being Lando’s ship the Millennium Falcon.  Lando cheats to win but agrees to join the mission in exchange for a share of the profits.

Double crossing, unforeseen plot twists, and all out non-stop action await our crew as they make their way to the Kessel mines.  What happens on this mission will change Han Solo forever, securing his place on the Star Wars Mount Rushmore.  The movie ends with Han Solo and Chewbacca leaving for the planet Tatooine, where a “Big Shot Gangster” is putting together a smuggling team for his own deviant needs…

I thoroughly enjoyed this movie.  I love how the viewer is taken on an adventure where the creation of the iconic character of Han Solo is born.  I was also impressed with how the writers answered many of the plot questions about the origin of Han Solo that has been debated for years by Star Wars fans.

You can see a lot of the Han Solo we have come to know and love in the character of Beckett.  He becomes somewhat of a mentor to Han and sums up the role of a scoundrel smuggler by impressing on Han the rule of “Trust No one.”  A mantra Han Solo will continue to live by.

Director Ron Howard does a great job of storytelling and gives the viewer an action packed, cinematic explosion, that had me on the edge of my seat.  Han Solo has been my favorite character in the Star Wars universe, and he will continue to stay there after this movie.

Let’s face the facts, without Han Solo there is no Rebel victory over the Evil Empire.  The Evil Emperor and all his “Darths” would have free reign to enslave the entire universe.  His “Never tell me the Odds” persona has been the Yang to Luke Skywalker’s Ying.  He shows his soft side with the women in his life and would never turn his back on a friend, no matter the odds.  He may be a scoundrel at heart, but he is our scoundrel.  We will continue to root for him till the end.

So, in the immortal words of Han Solo “I still get a funny feeling about that old man and the kid.  I’m not sure what it is about them, but they’re trouble.”  As long as there is trouble in the Star Wars universe, I will be there to watch.

I give this movie an emphatic 3.75 stars out of 4, and a must see for all ages and species.

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