The Daily Gamecock

Review: 'Solo: A Star Wars Story' surprisingly satisfying, action-packed

'Solo: A Star Wars Story' is the movie every Star Wars fan felt a tad bit uneasy about upon its announcement. Who could fill Harrison Ford's shoes as the iconic character? However, Alden Ehrenreich succeeded in portraying the daring and head-over-heels-in-love young Han Solo. 

I believe this movie was necessary, confronting the problems that every prequel addresses. It reveals Solo's humble beginnings and his first love while answering a lot of questions: How did Solo meet Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo)? How did Solo win the Millennium Falcon? Where did his last name come from? 

'Solo' provides intense action scenes that make a great Star Wars movie as he tries to make his way back to his love interest, Qi'ra (Emilia Clarke). While Solo's background was exhibited tastefully, the supporting characters stole the spotlight for me.

First, we must discuss Qi'ra. It was interesting, yet extremely frustrating to see her character's progression. Leaving the movie, I had more questions about Qi'ra and honestly wasn't even thinking about Han Solo. 

The film begins with young adults Qi'ra and Solo living a life of crime on the dark planet of Corellia. The two are in love and dying to escape from their horrid lives, and Solo hopes to achieve his dream of becoming a pilot. When they reach the end of their great escape plan, only Solo makes it out and Qi'ra is left behind. From then on, the story follows Solo's ambition to become the greatest pilot in the galaxy and, ultimately, find Qi'ra. 

The problem is, while the focus stays on Solo, the audience misses out on three years of Qi'ra's life. When the couple finally embraces at a sketchy party where Solo is finishing up a business deal, Qi'ra doesn't even seem happy to see him and tells him that he doesn't know the things she's done. As the film continues, Qi'ra's allegiance flickers. Her role changes from Solo's tag-a-long sidekick girlfriend to an independent woman with intense combat skills. We also see later that she's working with an infamous character that appears as a shocking cameo.

Another notable character is the beloved Chewie. Chewbacca's origin story includes him being enslaved on a planet called Mimban and referred to as "The Beast." Solo is working for the Imperial Army and eventually gets kicked out due to his snarky humor and bold personality, getting thrown to "The Beast." After Chewbacca quite literally tries to kill his soon to be co-pilot for life, Solo wins him over with his Shyriiwook knowledge (Wookiee language). From then on, they're partners in crime. 

A major part of what made this movie so great for me was Lando Calrissian. The smooth-talking gambler is portrayed by Donald Glover flawlessly. We learn a lot more about Calrissian's background throughout this film and his sidekick droid L3-37 (voiced by Phoebe Waller-Bridge). L3 is a die-hard droids' rights activist who thinks Calrissian has a crush on her. While her character gives the film some comic relief, her role as an activist is extremely thought-provoking. If this movie was made in the earlier years, I believe her role would be quite different.

The supporting characters really gave this movie humor, drama and mandatory backstory. I left the movie knowledgeable on Solo's background, yet wished Qi'ra's character had more time to develop. The visuals are intrinsically entertaining and the overall action is thrilling. While entering the theater feeling nervous about 'Solo,' the film surprised me with a fascinating origin story.


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