Han Solo has been my favourite Star Wars character since I got hooked onto the universe created by George Lucas. When I read that there will be a solo Star Wars film made on him, I was delighted. More so because his character had been brutally killed off in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. There was a lot that I wanted to know about Han’s character like his childhood, where he grew up, how he met Chewie, how did he come in possession of The Millennium Falcon. The film does answer some of these questions and it uses a fun, action packed delivery mechanism.
We see Solo (Alden Ehrenreich) dreaming of becoming a pilot of his own ship and leaving his old life with his girl Qi’ra (Emilia Clarke aka Khaleesi aka Mother of Dragons aka Breaker of Chains….you know how it goes). He starts off on his quest to earn enough and buy himself a ship and on his quest he comes across some interesting characters including our beloved Chewbacca. The scene where Solo looks at Chewie as he takes the navigators chair for the first time in the Millennium Falcon is full of nostalgia. Oh how many great adventures have we seen in that cockpit and the ship itself. The Millennium Falcon is so iconic an object that it is very much a character and I am so tempted to address ‘it’ as ‘him’.
The action sequences are well shot and have an immersive feel to them. Fortunately or unfortunately, technology is moving so fast that these days a film really needs to make a lot of effort and spend a lot of money to put forth something that has never been seen before. Hence, in Solo, you will not find anything extraordinary in terms of visuals, though IMAX does take the visual experience up by a couple of notches. The background score is too safe for my liking and especially for a film like this, which essentially is full of con artists, thieves and whatnot. Even the characteristic Star Wars theme is used very less. Costume and production design are top notch as without these incredibly important facets, a film like Solo could never exist.
As for the cast, Emilia Clarke is a delight. She has spectacular screen presence and lights up every frame she is in, wether she is dressed as a outcast or dressed to kill. She breathes life into Qi’ra and maintains just the right balance that keeps you intrigued throughout. The other highlight for me was Woody Harrelson who plays Beckett and creates this earnest vibe about himself. He is so good that one might just be unconvinced about the climax (you will have to see the film to understand this one, NO SPOILERS). Donald Glover as Lando is charming, Paul Bettany as Dryden Vos sparks menace but does not get too much to do. I would have loved to see more of Rio Durant voiced by Jon Favreau but he gets killed off way too soon. Star Wars as a franchise has had a habit of creating great Robot characters, they are the pioneers actually. From C3PO and R2D2 to BB8 (Star Wars Force Awakens, Last Jedi) and K-2SO (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) more recently. Solo is no different and this films introduces the most intriguing Robot character called L3-37. She is so refreshing as the rebellious robot who has a mind of her own and wants equal rights for machines. Unfortunately, the character that needed to stand out the most in this extremely talented cast does not. Alden Ehrenreich plays Solo and does a reasonable job but it is the writing that lets him down. There isn’t any firepower written into the character, and we are talking about the legendary Han Solo. This film could have been spectacular had this been done well.
Solo, for me, was a fun ride but way too simplistic for a character like Han Solo. The film ends at a stage where there is definite potential for a sequel if not a trilogy. Fans of Star Wars would surely agree that if there is one character that needs a trilogy of his own, its Solo.