I still remember watching the very first Star Wars movie on VHS as a kid. This is a Han Solo who wants to be loved even of he doesn't want to be liked, and when he puts his arm around the immortal Chewie it's tough not to go "aww".
Solo: A Star Wars Story is still a little over a week away from hitting theaters, but the first reviews hit the web yesterday, and you'll find that one character everyone can't stop raving about is Lando Calrissian. If you're in charge of making Star Wars movies and you have him under contract, how do you not look to build around it, maybe even offering him the writer credit and his choice of director? Apart from the handsome costumes and locations, the fans will also get to see a lot of action in the movie.
Nobody does, quite. The American actor Alden Ehrenreich apparently pipped Britain's Taron Egerton and Ireland's Jack Reynor to the title role, and does a decent job, but he lacks Ford's screen presence, that enigmatic charisma he had even as a young man.
The critics have spoken, and director Ron Howard'sSolo: A Star WarsStory has been given the seal of approval on review site Rotten Tomatoes. Solo's set-up follows that formula, but without the universe-altering mythology of the ancient battle between Jedi and Sith.
Without spoiling Solo: A Star Wars Story, there are a couple threads left dangling that could lead to possible sequels featuring Han Solo and Chewbacca.
Does 'Solo: A Star Wars Story' have an opening crawl?
Starring Alden Ehrenreich (Hail, Caesar!) as a younger version of Solo, a role made famous by Harrison Ford, the movie offers the back-story of how Han became the good-guy adventurer beloved by generations of Star Wars fans. Whatever your opinion of The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, they were full of gorgeous, memorable shots. Unlike "Rogue One", however, the audience isn't just plopped into the middle of a scene on an unknown planet.
Somehow, Solo is able to pack in several surprises. We understand why things turn out the way they do, and this manages to imbue the legend of Han Solo himself with a well-earned deeper meaning. Not everything is as it seems, and stuff you might have thought happened one way actually happens a different way. Not merely Han who makes it through life with the cheesiest of cheese-eating grins, but all of his cronies, both known and unknown.
Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian: "And Han also chances across a charismatic dandy-ish smuggler, gambler and flier called Lando Calrissian, a very amusing performance from Donald Glover".
Solo: A Star Wars Story might be the tenth movie in the Star Wars franchise, but it feels like the first film in the series that isn't essential to the franchise's mythology. That's just speculation on our part, but since Lando gets such a great introduction in Solo, it feels silly to redo that with his own origin story. The overall dark look of the movie is perhaps created to hide Ehrenreich's lack of resemblance to Ford - or maybe it's just to evoke The Empire Strikes Back, the darkest and most popular film of the franchise's original trilogy.
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