Han Solo's 5 most memorable Star Wars moments bring them nostalgic feels

Angelo Anderson
May 16, 2018

Well, prepare for that times 11 when watching Acosta's True Solo: A Star Wars Story. While it hits all the beats that you would expect, the movie plays it so unbelievably safe it feels like more a spec script for an episode of a long-going sci-fi TV series than another installment of the most influential movie franchise of all time.

Solo: A Star Wars Story reshuffles the accepted component myth-parts in a way that some find overfamiliar: there are desert scenes, weirdo cabaret acts.

Ron Howard's standalone Han Solo origin story is now scoring 67 on reviews aggregate website Metacritic (based on 31 reviews so far). Han first flies the Millennium Falcon! Check. His first meeting with Chewie?

It's a film that's battling between two different intentions.

On the other hand, no franchise rakes in more than $42 billion, as Star Wars is estimated to have done since 1977, without being able to keep a good thing going. We spend some time in the prologue running with Han on the mean streets of Corellia, ruled by gangland factions in the time of the Galactic Civil War. Han wants to leave with his girlfriend, Qi'ra (Emilia Clarke), but is essentially enslaved by his leader, Lady Proxima (Linda Hunt). The film's one truly convincing turn comes from Woody Harrelson as Tobias Beckett, a career criminal who serves as a dubious father figure to young Han.

When Solo plays to its strengths, its an entertaining little adventure - little being the key word here.

Solo - both the movie and this new iteration of Harrison Ford's classic character, now played by Alden Ehrenreich - skates by on charm, breezy irreverence, and a just-right degree of Star Wars fan service. A train heist, a chase to get away from a cavalry (of tie-fighters), warring gangs (one of which resembles a Native tribe), and an apprentice-type relationship between a younger and older gunslinger. She's a droid unlike any other in the Star Wars Universe. How did Han Solo meet Chewbacca? But instead of having an over-arching plot, Solo has a string of tenuously connected, protracted action set pieces, none of which is too coherent, and most of which are obscured by smoke and steam.

But it's not all a smooth ride, cowpokes. Although, with [director of photography] Bradford Young, there's not a lot of time. Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian seems a bit of a cosplay casting choice. He's basically trapped in amber, and when he makes a significant decision, we're left scratching our heads as to why. When George Lucas made his three Star Wars prequels, from 1999 to 2005, he managed to garble the continuity so badly that they contradicted the events of the original trilogy. Nearly as big a let-down is Donald Glover, replacing Billy Dee Williams as the suave gambler Lando Calrissian; it's an amusing but superficial performance, made up mostly of wardrobe. And as mentioned, Bettany is game to chew scenery in a fascinating way. What a shame in a film with some very strong, original female characters. As Han's morally compromised love interest, Q'ira, Emilia Clarke earns her paycheck nearly immediately when Han mentions a stolen spacecraft and, with a delighted purr, she asks: "Why?"

"Solo: A Star Wars Story" is the first entry in the "Star Wars" saga to focus entirely on character over outcome, and while that does lower the stakes a significant amount, it also allows for the movie to have a whole lot of fun with itself in a way that feels consistent with its overall tone. The film, which opens May 25, also does its best to overcome the inherent problems of a prequel where the audience already knows how the story ends.

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