Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich) and his new friend Chewie are looking for a fast ship in Solo. ­(Walt Disney Pictures image)

Reel Reviews: Solo flies alone

We say, “Solo is different than every other Star Wars movie”

Wanting to become the best pilot in the galaxy, a young Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich) joins a fledgling Empire, which promises to bring order.

Quickly realizing that the Empire is less about order and more about punishment, Solo finds a way to escape his service when he meets an enslaved Wookie named Chewbacca. The two help a gang of smugglers led by Beckett (Woody Harrelson) who steal a cache of valuable fuel in an attempt to pay off their debts, or in Solo’s case, gain a ship.

Along the way, they meet Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover): a suave gambling man who happens to own one of the fastest ships around, the Millennium Falcon.

We say, “Solo is different than every other Star Wars movie.”

TAYLOR: Stepping into the role of an icon has to be difficult and requires a certain amount of daring. Alden Ehrenreich is no Harrison Ford, but I found that I was able to accept him as Han Solo. It’s not so much his look, voice or even his Solo-like mannerisms that won me over, although at times these things were effective, but really it was the story and its environment that surround the character in what the audience would call nostalgia. Solo is a film that unfolds like a high-school essay, first we set up the goals Solo has for himself, then we learn all the facts that will eventually turn him into the Han Solo we know and love, then we simply watch his tale unfold, pieces falling into place. It’s satisfying in the same way as “Pork Chop Night.” You like pork chops, you have them once a week, but there’s nothing new or exciting about them.

HOWE: I personally thought that Ehrenreich did a bloody good job as a young Solo as did the rest of the cast. My gripe is that I found the whole movie pretty dull, even to the point that I feel the same way I do with the comic book crossovers, that there are way too many franchises. They just seem to release them for the cash grab, not really caring if the storyline is any good or not. Don’t get me wrong the acting, the look, even the sound has Star Wars plastered all over it, the thing is it just doesn’t give you goosebumps like the old ones did.

TAYLOR: Glover’s Calrissian is a smooth-talking, cape-wearing, card-concealing conman. Glover’s impression of original Calrissian Billy Dee Williams is bang on, but we can’t spend the entire review nit-picking or applauding the casting. The thing that makes Solo different from all other Star Wars films is a departure from morality and identity. In every other Star Wars movie, someone is trying to discover themselves through service to a greater good, fighting the evil Empire, for instance. Han Solo only looks out for himself and doesn’t necessarily care about from whence his rewards come. In this effort, director Ron Howards’ Solo is quite like a western, where our gunslinger’s only stakes are products of his own desires.

HOWE: Have they left the ending open enough to make a Solo 2, just in case?

TAYLOR: They’re going to make Lando, which makes sense, with Glover being very much in the spotlight right now due mostly to his music video This is America — probably the most impactful music video of all-time. I’d watch that on a loop compared to Solo, but Solo’s worth seeing if you’re a fan of the franchise.

Taylor gives Solo 3 capes out of 5.

Howe gives it 2.5 ripped off arms out of 5.

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