First thing - Han Solo is an iconic Star Wars character and Harrison Ford's portrayal is almost impossible to beat. So we should not put that pressure on the newcomer Alden Ehrenreich, who honestly does an impressive enough job. Although in the hands of cinematic master Ron Howard, the expectations are running high for this film. Described as a space western, the film is centered on a young Han Solo and his adventures with his wookie sidekick Chewbacca, including their encounter with Lando Calrissian.
Han escapes his planet, leaving his love Q'ira behind. He joins and fights with the empire forces, looking to escape one day and go back to his planet to find his love. He meets space criminal and smuggler Tobias Beckett and his team and ends up joining them in their next mission, accompanied by his new Wookie friend Chewbacca. As the mission goes south, they end up in front of space crime-lord Drydon Vos, who's not pleased about the failed mission and lost merchandise. Han and his team offers a new mission to acquire new merchandise to pay off for the loss. Han also finds Q'ira who work with Dryden now, and joins them on the new mission on his order. Q'ira takes the team to a smuggler and con, Land Clarission, who could help them in the new mission. As they set on to the new mission as a new team, the new adventure brings some unexpected challenges, betrayals, and accomplices leading Han to be the man he is destined to become. Also, Han does find his Millennium Falcon!
So there's lot of good in the film and some not-so-good. Here's how it goes...
- It's a great adventure film, telling a solo story (pun intended), instead of a web of stories like your usual Star Wars fair. We follow through the life of a young and rebellious Han who's yearning to become a pilot he thinks he's destined and deserves to be.
- Emilia Clarke, our own Dragon Queen, is truly charming and impressive in the film. I would even call her highlight of the film. Taking on the string female lead character like all new generation of Star Wars film, she's fearless, string headed and cold (Daenerys, anyone?), when need be. And very very very charming as well.
- Paul Bettany as Dryden Vos is menacing and one of the great new Star Wars villain. It's almost unfortunate that he won't be back. Why? Umm...
- Woody Harrelson as Tobias Beckett is expectedly great. A mentor to the young Han, who teaches him some great life lessons, "never trust anyone", and has some snarky great lines.
- Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian is again expectedly great. Lando is just awesome, and so is Donald, it's a perfect match.
- Lando's robot companion, L3-37 is really really cool and fun. A new cool robot in Star Wars, YAY!
- There are some great space chase sequences. From flying cars to Millennium Falcon, once it's in Han's hands, the ride is really awesome. I mean seriously, the last few films may have failed on action and adventure, but this film has breathtakingly awesome action!
- The film is the story before The New Hope, to setup the Han we see there. It kind of fails to do that. It's not really the Han we see there.
- As expected and said, although Alden is good in this film, he doesn't even come close to Harrison Ford's Han. He just doesn't.
- Thandie Newton as Val, Tobias's partner, is amazing. But it's just sad t hat she doesn't really have much screen time. I mean, really she doesn't.
- The film mostly follows an expected storyline and path, without throwing any surprises like Rain Johnson's The Last Jedi, or Garth Edward's Rogue One. It mostly plays it safe.
- There's (almost) no R2D2 or C3PO. Did you catch the cameo?
- There's no FORCE.
Overall it's a good Star Wars film, and if you are a fan of Star Wars, or good westerns, or good action adventure films etc etc, you should watch it. If you are expecting more, then may the force be with you!