Solo: A Star Wars Story
RATED - (PG-13) - 135-MIN-2018
Solo: A Star Wars Story is a fun and entertaining ride
This is the second film in the Star Wars movies that branches off from the main storyline that George Lucas had made by filmmakers who bring some fresh ideas. Lucas has set the table with a wonderful and vast template to branch out from. The first entry: (Rogue one: A Star Wars Story) was a great start, as it gave a back story on how the rebels stole the Death Stars plans and found its weakness. I really like it.
Not as good as (Rogue One), Solo still is a fun, well made addition.
Basically an old-fashioned heist movie, the movie starts on the grungy planet of Corellia, where Han, an orphan, grew up. Han and his girl, Qi'ra (Emilia Clarke) have stolen some precious energy like substance called coaxium which they hope is their ticket off of this crappy planet with thieves and thugs. Solo, who fancies himself a pilot has big dreams for him and his girl. After a run-in with a local worm leader, who they were supposed to give the coaxium too, they try to flee in a crowd of refugees who are being screened by The Empire's Stormtroopers and they are spotted. Solo makes it out, by Qi'ra is left behind. He promises to come back for her, and with little options, he joins the Empire with hopes of being a fighter pilot, even though he doesn't believe in their growing cause against the slowly dissolving republic. Instead, he is dropped on a war torn planet, in the trenches as a grunt. There he meets a ragtag group of soldiers who are there for their own reasons. There is the leader: Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson), his girlfriend Val (Thandie Newton), and the multiarmed pilot Rio (Jon Favreau). Solo wants to join them, but Becket turns him in, saying he is a deserter. To say more about that would ruin an important introduction, but Solo does join the group and they are off to the next job.
Becket says that they have found a big score of coaxium that is being delivered on a train, high between mountains on a snowy planet. This sequence is thrilling and very well done, as the band of outlaws, travel on top of the train, which rotates horizontally to clear the mountain trenches, and also have to fight off pirates, who have come to steal the coaxium from them. This is where Solso gets to show Beckett his chops as a pilot for the first time. When the outcome is not quite what they expected, Beckett has to deliver bad news to his boss: Dryden Vos (Paul Bettany), head of the Crimson Dawn syndicate. Vos resides in a flying yacht, where it is a perpetual party and those who cross or fail him come to a quick death.
It turns out that Qi'ra, now is a worker for Vos, and Han is thrilled to see his girl again. Eventually, this group is forced into a dangerous job, where they have to travel to mines of Kessel ( Yes, that one) and steal a whole bunch more of this coaxium. It is a suicide job, but with Qi'ra now back with him, and a certain ship owned by the gambler Lando Calrissian, they are off on their mission. Lando's copilot and kind of love interest, the robot L3-37 (Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who is a hoot), is another fine addition to the wonderful collection of Star Wars droids. It is a fun group, and all the actors are good.
What makes Star Wars so compelling: (the small band of good guys going up against the powerful bad guys) is present in this movie also, but there is a certain precise efficiency that had me engaged, but not completely invested. I'm not sure if the mid-production director replacement had anything to do with it, but I felt that. This is a competent branch off the main tree for Star Wars.. not great, but very good. It also has a few twists and turns, and one big surprise. I also must point out that the score by John Powell, mixed with some of the Master John William's classic material is very good, with a couple of excellent movements. I particulary noticed and liked the track: Lando's Closet https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=14FoPkGndu0 and there are many good one liners from all involved.
It's these extra touches that make Star Wars better than most fare.
watch the trailer: