Solo Except for the Last Nine Movies

Solo: A Star Wars Story entertaining as well as touching. It has fun characters and an uncommon plot. But it is also the fourth Star Wars film since 2015, and thus individual movies have not been able to shine longer. Christian Tesfaye awards 7 out of 10 stars.

It is often the case that too much of something, however interesting or entertaining, becomes boring. Hollywood has long stopped believing in this age-old truth, given modern marketing strategies. Studios have become highly adept at selling tired formulas but with different wrappings all the time.

Solo: A Star Wars Story is not exactly one of those. It is a Star Wars movie, but with less lightsabers. It is not at all an original, but it builds on previous outings.

It is hard to argue though that the main characters were created decades ago as well as the protagonists’ world. The filmmakers have also merely pulled a stack from the life of Han Solo, one of the most popular Star Wars characters, and shown us a glimpse of it.

And given that the franchise leads us to believe that the character was adventurous, and lived a rather long life until he was killed in the first movie of the sequel trilogy, there could theoretically be a dozen Solo outings.

But that should be no reason for missing the movie. Solo has a unique theme, that of hopelessness, betrayal and resignation. It is unlike a lot of what has come before.

We meet Han (Alden Ehrenreich), an orphaned child who survives and thrives on thievery on a planet called Corellia. He does not plan on staying there for long though. He wants to escape, become a pilot and live happily-ever-after with his ally Qi’ra (Emilia Clarke).

His plan does not go as wished. While Han makes it out, Qi’ra is left behind. He vows to return and get her out of there. Before that though, he joins the Imperial army, gets tired of it and teams up with a criminal gang led by Tobias (Woody Harrelson) who is dead set on stealing coaxium, a hyperspace fuel.

This is another plan that fails to hit its target, with Tobias revealing that he needs to repay a debt. Han – with his newfound buddy Chewbacca – decides to help for a cut that could help him save Qi’ra.

The debt is owed to Dryden Vos (Paul Bettany), and they visit him to beg for one last shot. It is there that Han finds Qi’ra is no damsel in distress. She has made it out of Corellia and now serves as a loyal adviser to the head of a major crime syndicate, Dryden. The gang does get a final chance, and Qi’ra is assigned to help them. While Han’s and Chewbacca’s desire is easy money, their attempt ends up affecting the power structure in the galaxy.

I have loved and enjoyed the Star Wars franchise, and Solo is not much different. Indeed, like any other of the movies in the series, it does not come close to the original trilogy.

The galactic adventure that Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Han Solo, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Yoda, and Darth Vader had was unforgettable and is enjoyable to this day. The trilogy had charm, surprise, well-drawn out characters and fun. This is a combination that is hard to hit in today’s rather pessimistic world where cinema has gotten too serious.

The prequel trilogy was indeed disappointing, but the third film was entraining. It gave us the making of one of cinema’s most memorable villains, Darth Vader.

Then followed the sequel trilogy, which is well-plotted and has great characters. The films are released within two years of each other. In the intervening years, Walt Disney Studios, which owns the distribution rights to the franchise, has been releasing spin-offs.

The first of these was Rogue One, which told the story of how the designs to the Death Star were acquired by the Rebel Alliance, a group Wikipedia describes wonderfully as, “an interstellar pro-democratic republic coalition of revolutionary factions and clandestine cell systems.”

Solo is the second of these spin-offs. It is admirable that the film can stand on its own. Unlike the recent Avengers: Infinity War, it is not necessary to have followed movies from the cinematic universe.

Han is played brilliantly by Ehrenreich, who does a wonderful job of imitating the young Harrison Ford. He is serious without looking serious, and clueless without seeming goofy.

His character is complimented with the fact that he is a lonely soul. With the sorts of friends he usually makes, he does not need enemies. Han could be a great thief and leader of a criminal gang but remains loyal, honest and moral. He is a good guy.

I like Solo, but at this point, we are being bombarded with too many Star Wars movies, it is hard to fall in love. It is one amongst many. I respect that Walt Disney has remained true to its motto of giving audiences good stories – I cannot say the same for Marvel – but they should release movies less frequently. This is the 10th movie, and the fourth one since 2015 – it is beginning to feel a lot like a TV show.


Published on Jun 02,2018 [ Vol 19 ,No 944]



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