Despite early controversy in regards to this movie — especially the departure of original directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller — under the experienced hand of veteran director Ron Howard, Solo: A Star Wars Story is one of the best Star Wars movies to come out in the last few years.
Alden Ehrenreich is perfectly cast as the young Han (who doesn’t have a last name at the beginning of the film). Ehrenreich provides the macho swagger, cheeky smirk and self-assuredness that we see in the older Han Solo. Despite his desire to be tough and a criminal, Han has a heart and a strong sense of what’s right and wrong. He’s also loyal to a fault.
The movie, which has settings that are very reminiscent of the original three movies, opens on Han and his girlfriend, Qi’ra (Emilia Clarke), who are captives trapped in a work camp. He decides to escape and they make a daring effort, but at the last minute, Qi’ra is captured. He vows to get her out of there, but he first has to earn money in order to buy a ship to help in her escape.
Han meets a gang of smugglers led by Beckett (Woody Harrelson), and although they don’t want him at first, after meeting Chewbacca, Han finagles his way in. We also get to witness Han’s first meeting with Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover). Through it all, Ehrenreich plays Han with an easy nonchalance and a mischievous glint in his eyes.
He and Emilia Clarke have great chemistry, which keeps the audience hoping he’ll be successful in his quest to reunite with Qi’ra. Along the way, no matter what happens, nothing throws Han for a loop. He just continues to figure out how to make things go right, even when they’re going very, very wrong.
All this makes for a very likable character and one we can’t get enough of — when the movie ends, I was left wanting more. Hopefully, if this does well at the box office (and it likely will do very well), we’ll get more Han Solo prequels. ~Alexandra Heilbron