Movie Review - Solo: A Star Wars Story
Alden Ehrenreich (Hail, Caesar and Beautiful Creatures) stars as Han Solo, a petty thief who becomes an intergalactic smuggler. The movie never really takes time to get to know him. His name could have been anything because all the movie cares about is having a young, handsome, smiling face to move from one action set-piece to another, showing how Han met two of the other iconic characters from both Star Wars and The Empire Strike Back (1980), but not really giving a damn about delving more into who they are and why they are.
Han mentions his father and not his mother, but he does so as just passing references as to not carry any weight. In Star Wars, we get a good sense of Luke Skywalker's home life and how he grew up, as well as what shaped him. That's not the case here. We're given a setup or premise for Han's introduction that feels very hollow. The film is in such a rush to get Han off his home planet that we never take the time to understand what his home life really was. He's supposed to be anchored by a girlfriend that he has, but that relationship feels hollow too. It's never fully fleshed out or given any substance by the end that makes us care about it.
Donald Glover (Spider-Man: Homecoming and The Martian) also co-stars as Lando Calrissian. We don't delve into his character either. Aside from a suave, card shark and gambler, the movie has no interest in his back-story or where he originated. This prequel only pays homage to him in caricature only and not fleshing out. When it comes to the other characters in this narrative, it's practically the same. The characters aren't delved or developed. They're all hollow, so we can't care about them.
Presumably, it takes place chronologically between Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith and what's been re-titled Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope because Han Solo is supposedly around the same age as Luke and Leia, if slightly older, but the ending suggests this film takes place before or concurrently with Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace.
Darth Maul is in this film. In cinema, Darth Maul died in The Phantom Menace, so his appearance here makes no sense if Han is the same age as Luke and Leia who were born in Revenge of the Sith, 13 years after Maul's so-called death. Therefore, Han is older than we thought or Darth Maul has somehow been brought back to life. If so, Maul's resurrection, which seems even more impossible than Anakin's resurrection, is clearly a setup for another prequel, one possibly focused on Obi-Wan Kenobi who killed Maul in The Phantom Menace.
Rated PG-13 for sci-fi action and violence.
Running Time: 2 hrs. and 15 mins.