‘Solo’ explores origin of classic character

BY Juan Calvillo

“Solo: A Star Wars Story” is the fantastical origin story that most fans didn’t know they needed. It combines the thrills and battles of summer box-office blockbusters with subtle nods to the lore that it came from.

Alden Ehrenreich plays a young Han Solo. Ehrenreich captured the character that Harrison Ford perfected all those years ago.

The subtle, roughish grin is exactly what would be expected of a younger, less experienced Solo. His timing is spot on during the movies lighter moments.

Courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

At his side is Joonas Suotamo playing Chewbacca. Despite not having a speaking part, except for a funny sequence between Solo and Chewbacca where it’s made apparent Solo really does understand the Wookie, his physical acting and movements bring this younger Chewbacca to life.

Finally, the physicality is in this movie shows why there is credence in the fear some characters have             of Wookies.

Rounding out the main cast are Woody Harrelson, playing a more conniving version of what will one day be Han Solo. Emilia Clarke, plays Qi’ra, a friend of Solo from his youth that he wants to help who is Solo’s driving force in the film.

The real stand out is Donald Glover, who plays Lando Calrissian. Glover really fleshes out the Calrissian character with nuances and slight nods to Billy Dee Williams’ original portrayal. He effortlessly makes it cool to wear a scarf and cape through the confidence Glover imbues in his character.

The central theme of “Solo: A Star Wars Story” is trust. It becomes evident from the moment the movie begins that Solo has total trust in the person he is and the one he wants to become.

This is explored continuously as Solo meets up with the characters that will affect the outcome of what he is destined to be.

Starting from the moment Solo and Qi’ra are introduced, it is apparent that these two characters have each others’ back.

Bringing them into a situation where there are no winners but from which each comes through.

During the first meeting between Chewbacca and Solo, trust is the only thing that can save them. That same trust is what makes the pairing so interesting and fun to watch on screen.

The only draw back is the lack luster villain that is introduced in the movie. Dryden Vos, played by Paul Bettany, is a just an everyday evil villain.

The problem with that is the character will never live up to the sith lords or vicious elite storm troopers of the past and present main-line movies.

Bettany, who can also be seen in “Avengers: Infinity War,” did the best with what was given as a character.

If there’s one thing that can unequivocally be said about “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” it is that the movie is gorgeous to watch.

Sequences, both planet side and in the outer reaches of space, are awe inspiring. In the past some of the space battles or set pieces were bland fighter-versus-fighter segments.

This movie boasts an impressive space sequence that was awash in color and intense moments.

Set pieces like these will, hopefully, be duplicated or at least seen as a set standard when it comes to future films in the Star Wars universe.

At the movie’s core it is Han Solo’s story. It shows through a series of fun, amusing, and sometimes saddening moments why Han Solo is the way he is in the Star Wars universe.

It expertly tells the first act of the story of two mismatched people and how they became connected and a part of a galaxy far, far away.

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