Before venturing into “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” there’s one thing you need to understand — Harrison Ford is Han Solo, and the Millennium Falcon did make the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs. Okay, make that two things.
Other than that, you can sit back and enjoy this origin story that feels more like a sci-fi western than a Star Wars story.
From the beginning, it is very clear that Han (Alden Ehrenreich) has always been Han, even with out his Wookiee sidekick or the Millennium Falcon. When we first meet him, he’s bribing his way off the planet Corellia with his girlfriend, Qi’ra (Emelia Clarke).
After failing to get them both out, Han immediately comes up with a four(ish)-step plan:
- Join the Imperial Navy as a flight cadet.
- Learn to fly a spaceship.
- Acquire a spaceship.
- Rescue Qi’ra.
Needless to say, this fairly long-term plan fell apart during step one due to Han’s inability to blindly take orders. Three years later he’s an infantryman on the frontlines, and trying to blackmail a group of smugglers into letting him join their crew.
From there we meet up with some more familiar faces including the beloved Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo) and the charming Lando (Donald Glover). We also learn, once again, that while Wookiees may look like cuddly space bears, much like real bears, they can and will rip your limbs off.
Hidden between character reveals, high-speed chases, and shootouts are some nice additions to the Star Wars universe. L3-37 (Phoebe Waller-Bridge), Lando’s co-pilot droid adds some humor and a lot of sass as she attempts to free the galaxy’s droids. She also ends up being a part of one of the film’s greatest triumphs.
Of course, at the end of the day, the film is about the man who shares its name. As a younger Han, Alden Ehrenreich is acceptable. He has the snark and swagger down, but (as previously mentioned) Harrison Ford is Han Solo. Anyone in this part was going to come up short purely because they are not Mr. Ford. Donald Glover’s performance as Lando seems effortless, and has deservedly sparked rumors (and requests) of another spinoff.
Overall the film is fun, and while some may wonder if it really adds anything to the Star Wars universe, at the very least it answers one question once and for all — Did the Millennium Falcon make the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs? Yes, yes she did.
…just for fun: