The writers of Future of the Force pass judgment on Ron Howard’s Han Solo standalone movie
With Solo: A Star Wars Story now playing in cinemas and delighting audiences across the world, our devoted writers at Future of the Force have come together to share our reactions to Ron Howard’s first outing in the Star Wars universe.
Despite the chaos surrounding the project, Ron Howard appears to have crafted a solid hit for the franchise, a fact that is both delighting fans, and restoring balance to the force following the contentious issue of Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Never has a Star Wars film divided its fans like The Last Jedi, so the question is, has Solo: A Star Wars Story reconciled these issues and brought the family back together?
“A Hot Dang Ride” | By Darth Elvis
Second viewing down and third visit already planned! This movie is one incredible ride which gives so much to old and new fans alike. Ron Howard joining the film late in the day has delivered a fantastic Star Wars film that ranks up there with the best of them. Each member of the cast gives solid performances but major kudos to Alden and Donald who don’t leave you asking where Harrison and Billy Dee are!
If you are holding off seeing Solo: A Star Wars Story in theatres, don’t! This is one Star Wars film, you don’t want to miss on the big screen.
“Solo Awesomeness” | By the Mini-Mandalorian
In Solo: A Star Wars Story there are a lot of great sequences like Han meeting Chewbacca, Han and Chewie’s introduction to the Millennium Falcon in her wonderful newness and having them make the Kessel Run in just under twelve parsecs.
My favourite part of Solo: A Star Wars Story must be the Kessel Run because it is an intense, fun and an action-packed ride with Han and Chewbacca together in the cockpit for the first time. It is a great scene, just like the epic return of Darth Maul in holographic form conferring with Qi’Ra and revealing himself as the leader of the Crimson Dawn crime syndicate.
Solo: A Star Wars Story is an epic movie and all the fans that haven’t seen it, should as soon as possible. And, if you ask me you should see it more than once because it’s absolutely brilliant.
“A Star Wars Popcorn Flick” | By Patty Hammond
Up until the trailers started coming out, I was not too excited to see Solo: A Star Wars Story. Not because of the actors, but because I thought that we really did not need to see Han’s backstory. However, as the trailers started to come out, I became more excited to see this film. Therefore, I made sure to see this film opening weekend and I was not disappointed.
The film is a great popcorn flick with lots of action, excitement and unexpected twists and turns. It stays true to the elements we knew about Han’s past including how he signed up for the Imperial Academy, how he ran the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs and how he won The Millennium Falcon from his friend, Lando. It also gives us some exciting new characters, which were not as predictable as I feared they would be.
One of my favourite scenes is how Han really met Chewbacca, it was not how I expected them to meet! In addition, I loved watching their friendship and partnership develop throughout the film. There were some parts that I was disappointed with, but overall it did not take away my pleasure with seeing Solo. I would encourage anyone to see this film in the theatres.
“Too Much Fun, Not Enough Smuggling!” | By Megan Rickards
To sum up my overall reaction to the movie, “It was fun”. Leaving the theatre, I didn’t feel the same as I did after leaving Rogue One a couple years back or even The Last Jedi just a few months back. With those two, I felt like I had gone on California Screaming at Disney’s California Adventure Park for the length of movies (and had a blast doing so). With Solo however, I felt more like I was on Thunder Mountain at Disneyland; Enjoyable and laughable at parts, but nothing incredible.
This was likely because going into this movie, my expectations were not very high, what with the director change halfway through and all. What I would have preferred to have seen was him acting more like the scoundrel smuggler we all love and know him to be. Over the years and throughout the many books and movies, we have heard a lot about his smuggling ways, but have yet to ever see any of it. Sure, I get that people didn’t like that part in The Force Awakens, but that’s more because it had little bearing on the overall plot than the actual scene itself. Pull from legends and let us see him smuggling something with Chewie and their near-death escapes. Don’t end the movie teasing us with that.
I will say though, the inclusion of Darth, now just Maul, was a nice touch for the hardcore fans who read as many books and comics as they can and watch all the TV shows. The drawback though, is for everyone else. I couldn’t help but notice on twitter that many were confused by not only how he was still alive after being sliced in half by Obi-Wan Kenobi in The Phantom Menace, but also due to that, where in the Star Wars timeline this story takes place. Before this turns into a page and a half thing, I’ll sum up my reaction again, “It was a fun ride”. Would I see it again after only seeing it once? Sure, I would recommend seeing it at least once.
“Alden Ehrenreich IS HAN SOLO” | By Thomas Storai
Solo: A Star Wars Story is the best Star Wars movie since Revenge of The Sith. There’s fun, adventure and emotion. It’s action-packed and visually breath-taking. It’s everything I wanted it to be and so much more! Alden Ehrenreich IS HAN SOLO! He delivers an amazing performance. The cast is simply fantastic. I have to say we need a sequel as soon as possible, more Han Solo adventures! And I have to say the Maul surprise was the best surprise cameo in Star Wars movie history because it was so unexpected. Just as Darth Vader’s cameo in Rogue One, it’s short but it’s something so exciting!
“I Was Wrong” | By Carl Roberts
Ok, I admit it, I was wrong.
All my trepidation and misgivings for Solo were unwarranted. From the opening text informing us of how Corellia is operating right through to the end shot of Han’s gold dice hanging in the Falcon cockpit, the film is a delight. After all the bad press and trouble the production had, the film surprises and delights us from the start. New characters are introduced alongside our heroes and the references to the Star Wars universe come thick and fast. A few classic lines are thrown at us to remind us we are playing in the Star Wars world and I couldn’t help but smile and nod approvingly at them all.
The design of Corellia reminds me of Wobani mixed in with Kamino, dark, dirty and wet. This isn’t the best tourist destination in the galaxy, far from it. Slavery, poverty and child exploitation reign here. The set up reminded me very much of a futuristic version of Oliver Twist, children must rob and con to survive and earn food and favour from their ‘Benefactor’, Lady Proxima. From here, we see Han’s time as an Imperial Mud Trooper before he embraces his true destiny and becomes the rogue and smuggler we all love. Alden Ehrenreich is not the Han Solo we know, nor is he supposed to be. This is Han before he became our beloved scoundrel. Ehrenreich encompasses the spirit of Solo from the start. We find ourselves rooting for him. This isn’t to say that at times I didn’t find myself missing Harrison Ford. I’m from the generation that saw A New Hope on its first release back in 1977 so it’s natural that I had trouble seeing someone else in the role at first, but I must admit, he grew on me as the film progressed.
The entire cast play their parts to perfection. The standout moment of the film is the famous Kessel Run. Over the years, we have heard the story many times but to see it on screen finally is a complete wonder. The visuals and acting during the entire sequence are top notch but to complement it to perfection is the score behind it. John Williams’ classic motifs fit the action perfectly. The blend of A New Hope, the asteroid sequence from Empire Strikes Back and John Powell’s new score raise the bar to an almost unreachable level of excitement. Seeing a Star Destroyer and TIE Fighters coming after the Falcon brings back fantastic memories. Nothing can come close to the asteroid field scene in Empire, but this gives it a damn good try.
The film is like a mix between a classic western and a heist film. Han is the lone gunslinger against a galaxy of saloon villains, Chewbacca the acquired sidekick, the Falcon the trusty steed. The black hats are in plain sight, plotting to steal and kill and double cross whomever they need to. The scene where Han confronts Beckett finally has all the hallmarks of the classic gunfighter showdown from the westerns of the 1950’s. Gunfight at the Star Wars corral anyone?
The reveal of Crimson Dawn’s Head is fantastic. If you say to me you saw it coming, I think you are lying. No one could ever possibly have seen it coming. DARTH MAUL IS BACK! We know he survived his defeat in Episode I from The Clone Wars and Rebels cartoon show but never, ever thought he would grace a Star Wars film again. Is this the start of a Lucasfilm attempt to replicate Marvel’s universe? Having the films build storylines and throw out threads that are added to and continued in the upcoming standalone films? Could we see Obi-Wan vs Maul in the upcoming Kenobi film? Could we see Cassian Andor appear in another film? Will Han run into Jyn Erso somewhere? These are questions that are now open thanks to Maul’s surprise appearance. Maul still has his lightsaber. Can we expect to see Ezra Bridger somewhere down the line? This one appearance can lead to so many possibilities its mind boggling. To see Ray Park, reprise his role from nearly 20 years ago is a sheer delight. And to have Sam Witwer reprise his voiceover duties from the animated series adds weight to the role and the film as a whole.
I do have some disappointments with some of the film. As a Stormtrooper fan, it was sad to see the new Mimban Trooper and Range Trooper relegated to cameo appearances. I was hoping to see more of them during the film. Thandie Newton is sadly underused as Val. Her role of the token badass female who looks mean, doesn’t agree with Beckett’s decision to bring Han and Chewie along and then dies within 15 minutes of her introduction is a waste. The android L3-37 is annoying. If she was designed as comic relief, she fails miserably. Anyone expecting to forge an emotional connection to her as they did with K-2SO in Rogue One is in for a disappointment. Her demise does add a vital part to the Falcon’s makeup but again, it’s a wasted role.
I enjoyed the film and can’t wait to see it again. It won’t reach double figures like the past three films have done cinema visit-wise, but it will come close. I can’t wait to watch the Falcon take on the Kessel Run again!
“An Outright Success” | by Sam Thomas
Despite its production issues, including a change of directors and almost 80% of the film being reshot… Solo: A Star Wars Story is an outright success. These issues can almost be forgotten when you have performances as impressive and fun as Ehrenreich (Solo) and Suotamo (Chewbacca) who do excellently with such iconic roles, leaving you wanting much more. Glover makes a good addition to the Star Wars universe as Lando Calrissian. Sadly, Emilia Clarke once again fails to shine away from Game of Thrones and Woody Harrelson and his crew are underused. There are lots of call-backs to Rebels and The Clone Wars which will reward fans that follow the stories away from the films! So far from a disaster, Solo is a worthy, energetic entry to the Star Wars Universe.
“Disney’s Best Star Wars” | by Katelyn Mathis
Of all the Star Wars films Disney has done, they finally figured it out with Solo. The balance between known and new characters was there and they used each character for as long as they were useful. Excellent plot with the appropriate amount of twists. I would have liked to have seen a little more color. Everything was either grey, black, or tan. The film seems to be setting something up. We don’t know what happened to Maul between the end of the Clone Wars and his appearance in Rebels. Somehow, he has managed to keep his place as someone of importance within the crime syndicates. By bringing him back, Disney has teased that there are questions they are willing to answer. This is fun for us, but it comes with responsibility. Can Disney fill in the gaps of Maul’s story without stepping on canon?
But, I digress. Overall, Solo was my favourite of the Disney Star Wars films and I am eagerly awaiting what must be an exciting sequel.
“Effortless Charisma” | by Lauren Romo
Going into Solo: A Star Wars Story, my level of expectation was even keeled. I accepted that this movie would not push the overall Star Wars lore as the episodic films do. My anticipation did grow as marketing went into light-speed. The tv spots, trailers and behind the scenes featurettes were perfectly used and added a certain flair to what the viewer could expect.
Once the movie started I could not stop smiling. Alden Ehrenreich’s portrayal as Han Solo was brilliant! He captured the essence of Han remarkably well. Joonas Suotamo knocked it out the park as Chewbacca. The chemistry between Alden and Joonas jumped off the screen and it felt organic. One of my favourite scenes is when the dynamic duo meets for the first time. Donald Glover was another bright spot. His charisma flowed effortlessly. The train heist sequence was shot beautifully. A huge kudos to John Powell and the score he created! The big cameo of Maul was unexpected but a nice tip of the hat to the hardcore Star Wars fan. There is so much to enjoy from this movie and worth seeing multiple times in theatres!
“Phenomenally Paced” | by Katarina Schultz
I went into Solo looking for some fun and I found it. It’s an okay film, maybe even good at times. The pacing is phenomenal – the action never lets up. The plot isn’t exactly what I expected. We see Han at a couple points in his early life before settling into the time we were promised. He’s not being recruited for a job, he’s begging his way into one. As for the characters introduced in the trailer, don’t get too invested in some of them…Suffice it to say that I am less than thrilled with what the film does with half of its female characters. It’s disappointing at best.
As for Han, it’s entertaining to watch him stumble through his early career and find his footing as an outlaw, but he was never a personal favourite. And despite Alden Ehrenreich’s quality performance and a totally decent film, he’s still not. Solo didn’t quite make me fall in love with new characters or inspire me like Rogue One did, but it was an enjoyable 2 hours in the theatre nonetheless.
“A Fun Star Wars Movie” | by Katy Heerssen
Solo was what I expected… it was a fun movie. More than that, it was a fun Star Wars movie! Of the two stand-alone films released so far, I think Solo fits best. John Powell’s score is the perfect blend of Williams’ original works and a unique new accompaniment for the world of Han Solo. I found myself smiling through nearly the entire film, basking in the great work of Alden Ehrenreich, Donald Glover, Joonas Suotamo, and Phoebe Waller-Bridge, guided by Ron Howard. Enfys Nest and her gang of Cloud Riders (and Warwick Davis outside of a creature suit!) were my favourite new additions to the universe, and I want more of their stories to be told.
As much as I liked Solo, it’s not without its flaws. Val (more specifically Thandie Newton) was an underutilized character, I found L3’s demise overly cruel, and Clarke was fine but didn’t reach her full potential as a noir femme fatale, for me. At the end of the day this film sets the stage for something more, and I’m excited to see where it takes us. (Hello Lucasfilm, tell me the story of Beckett pushing Aurra Sing, please!)
“Millennium Falcon Magic” | By Phil Roberts
She’s the fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy…
Solo: A Star Wars Story is an unrivalled triumph. Ron Howard is a gifted story-teller and brings his wealth of experience to the Star Wars franchise, and with Solo he has hit the ground running in spectacular fashion. The film is a joy and easily brings us that little bit closer to beloved characters like Han Solo, Chewbacca and Lando Calrissian.
Witnessing the first meeting between Han and Chewie is glorious and only serves to add gravity to their wonderful relationship which comes to fruition in stunning fashion. Donald Glover performs admirably as Lando Calrissian, Joonas Suotamo delivers another stellar performance as Chewbacca, and Alden Ehrenreich does just enough to make you forget he’s filling the shoes of our beloved Harrison Ford. Thandie Newton delivers a brief but mesmerizing performance as Val, Jon Favreau is great as CGI character Rio Durant and Woody Harrelson slips into the gallery of rogues of the Star Wars universe with virtual ease as Beckett. But alas, despite a fantastically villainous portrayal as Dryden Vos from Paul Bettany, his antagonist didn’t quite feel sinister enough to be a legitimate Star Wars villain. I found L3-37 grating and her token quest for droid equality was an unnecessary footnote to the overall story.
The references to The Clone Wars, Rebels, Raiders of the Lost Ark and the Teras Kasi fighting style were fantastic and link the movie saga together with the extended universe, a fact that was knocked out of the park by and THAT cameo. Ray Park and Sam Witwer combine to bring us the most definitive version of Darth Maul to date and his appearance was nothing short of exhilarating.
As for the plot, and it’s far less significant than I have come to expect for a Star Wars movie, but it works well for the narratives at play and serves to accentuate the relationships between the central characters. The score from John Powell is pure energetic brilliance and compliments the masterwork of John Williams magnificently. Just as Michael Giacchino did on Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, John Powell brings his A-Game and delivers a noteworthy soundtrack which will undoubtedly enter the halls of Star Wars greatness.
But, the standout moment for me was the Kessel Run.
We’ve heard stories about the Millennium Falcon making the run in less than twelve parsecs for over four decades, and to see it come to fruition on the screen was a pure delight. The sequence did not play out as I had envisioned at all and that was a welcome surprise. Witnessing Han and Chewie taking control of the Falcon for the very first time was something special and resonated with me on a deeply personal level. The significance of their unity at the controls of the fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy comes rushing to the forefront and reveals the sudden change in the Falcon’s responses and flying prowess. And even though Han pretty much ruins what was a beautiful early version of the famous freighter, Solo serves to solidify the fact that nobody in the entire galaxy can pilot the Falcon like him. Not Lando…and certainly not REY!
Simply put, the Falcon is at her best when Han and Chewie are at the controls. And to accentuate this fact was the pulse pounding score from John Powell. With blasts of the “Tie Fighter Attack” from A New Hope mingled with iconic ques from “The Asteroid Field” from Empire Strikes Back, John Powell had me rolling in the isles with a smile on my face that has yet to fade. Kudos to Ron Howard, John Powell and John Williams for what will be one of my all-time favourite moments from the entire saga!
Solo: A Star Wars Story may not be perfect, but it offers a fresh perspective on the characters we all know and love, and with Han Solo idolized as my favourite character (alongside Boba Fett), I was delighted with the adventures of Alden Ehrenreich’s incarnation. If he has indeed signed on for two more adventures – then I say bring them on!
Have Your Say:
Ron Howard’s Solo: A Star Wars Story has certainly got the fans talking with positivity again, and there have been some fantastic opinions from our team. Whether you are a casual fan, or an unparalleled Star Wars aficionado, we should all be filling auditoriums around the world to ensure that Solo is a box office success.
What did you think of Solo? Drop us a line and share your thoughts with us here or at @futureotforce on twitter.
Solo: A Star Wars Story is playing in cinemas everywhere now!
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Phil Roberts is the Owner, Daily Content Manager, and Editor-In-Chief of The Future of the Force. He is passionate about Star Wars, Batman, DC, Marvel, Star Trek, Indiana Jones, Ghostbusters, King Kong, and the Ray Harryhausen movies. Follow him on Twitter where he uses the force and babbles frequently!