Solo: A Star Wars Story

Han’s backstory

By: Carmen Andres

Solo: A Star Wars Story trailer logo

I can barely remember my life without Star Wars. As a kid, I daydreamed about using Jedi powers to do everything from my chores to defending the galaxy. As an adult, when the prequels started coming out, I secured opening night tickets for my husband and myself each time. When our own children got old enough to watch the films, we treated it like a rite of passage—and each new film that comes out is a family event.

Solo: A Star Wars Story comes closest to the fun and adventurous feel of the original trilogy—something I didn’t know that I was missing until now.

Like many who grew up on the original trilogy, I’m somewhat conflicted when it comes to the films made after the original three. To me, the prequels are too glitzy and commercial, though I like how they fill in the background of characters I loved and lost in the original films. Rogue One had a decent story, but the plethora of characters made it hard to really feel deeply about any one of them the way I did about Leia, Luke, and Han. And while I loved seeing those three again in the sequels, so far, those films feel like they don’t catch hold of the heart of the originals.

All this is to say, I’m probably not the most unbiased when it comes to reviewing the newer films in this franchise. To me, they all seem to be missing that special something.

But of all the films so far, Solo: A Star Wars Story comes closest to the fun and adventurous feel of the original trilogy—something I didn’t know that I was missing until now.

This installment focuses on our favorite smuggler’s life before A New Hope—and it wasn’t an easy one. We discover Han spent most of his childhood as an orphan in a street gang with dreams of becoming the best pilot in the galaxy. That kind of life could have drained all the good and aspirations out of him, but as we romp through one misadventure after another, we see the makings of the man George Lucas once called “a loner who realized the importance of being a part of a group and helping for the common good.”

Solo is chock-full of nostalgic ties to the original films—from foreshadowing riffs of the original musical score and younger versions of characters we know and love to inside scoops behind the legendary Kessel Run, how the Millennium Falcon ended up in Han’s hands, and how Chewbacca became the ship’s co-pilot.

It also touches on some surprisingly relevant themes related to how worldviews and what we most value affect our choices and relationships.

But Solo lacks moments of gravitas that give weight to the films in the original trilogy, particularly A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back. And it doesn’t match the same epic scale—but perhaps that’s appropriate, as Han’s move onto the galactic stage is still yet to come.

Overall, I enjoyed Solo. If you are looking for an adventurous romp through the Star Wars universe with laugh-out-loud moments, then it’s definitely worth the ticket price—especially if it’s a Saturday matinee.

Solo: A Star Wars Story is rated PG-13 for science fiction action and violence. There is also dialogue containing sexual innuendo.

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