A scoundrel is born in Star Wars spinoff 'Solo'

Nick Acosta  Vimeo

With Solo: A Star Wars Story nearly a week away, it's hard to stay away from the Dark Side of the Force, also known as significant spoilers for the film.

Independent No light sabres are on display and nor is there any sign of Darth Vader but Solo: A Star Wars delivers exactly what you want and expect from a movie about the young Han Solo. They must steal a massive consignment of Coaxium fuel from a mountain monorail shipment (the single most spectacular action extravaganza in the entire film) to pay off debts to the power-mad sociopath Dryden Vos (Paul Bettany). Rose Tico, and her sister Paige, from The Last Jedi are the first significant onscreen women of color in a Star Wars live-action film. "And while that means the story lacks the depth some might crave, it still offers plenty of fun, and (impressively for a prequel) the odd surprise along the way".

All this is to dance around the fact that, at its core, "Solo" always felt like it was going to be a bit redundant, addressing quandaries that didn't really beg for explanation and resurrecting elements that were perfectly fine staying dormant.

Michael Rechtshaffen, The Hollywood Reporter: "Of course, one need not look any further than the poster to know that, along the way, Han will also meet up with faithful companion Chewbacca (former basketball player Joonas Suotamo) and, equally notably, Lando Calrissian (the wildly magnetic Donald Glover doing Billy Dee Williams proud in a casually scene-stealing turn)".

Bobble Head • Star Wars: Solo Qi'ra Pop!

This extended sequence calls to mind the westerns, serials, and World War II movies that all helped inspire George Lucas's original Star Wars.

Despite a troubled production, which included the firing of the movie's original directors and extensive re-shoots, director Ron Howard's finished product appears to have avoided potential disaster.

Does it belong in the Star Wars canon?

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ALDEN EHRENREICH: (As Han Solo) Is this seat taken?

Jabba the Hutt is the obvious choice, but Ron Howard and the Kasdan's did not go down the predictable path. But critic Jim Vejvoda said it "offers enough pulpy fun and galaxy far, far away entertainment value to diminish any bad feeling one may have had about it heading into release". So seeing these characters represented in such an inventive way is an exciting emphasis on calling out their presence while commenting on diversity in the saga. This is the kind of wacky character the Star Wars universe needs more of.

There were fears that the Disney/Lucasfilm empire couldn't pull Solo off, because original directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (The Lego Movie) were abruptly fired over "creative differences" past year, necessitating major reshoots of the story by Howard, and there had been other rumours of on-set tensions.

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