It’s the action-packed, gun-slinging, ship-racing Star Wars story we’ve all been promised. Almost.
Solo: A Star Wars Story is Disney’s most recent venture into a galaxy far, far away, following the young Han Solo and how he became the Solo we all came to know in the original Star Wars trilogy. This Solo is played by Alden Ehrenreich, who has taken on the role from Harrison Ford. And, all in all, Ehrenreich does a good job. He is convincing as the young, handsome and extremely cocky pilot and is a solid casting choice. Should there be any sequels, he’d do just fine continuing in this role. He’s able to bring attention to himself when necessary, and that’s just what a young Han Solo is supposed to do, especially in sticky situations.
Solo’s love interest, Qi’ra, is played by Emilia Clarke. Clarke is most well known as Khaleesi from HBO’s Game of Thrones. Solo’s and Qi’ra’s relationship is made clear as soon as the movie begins, but dire circumstances will get in their way and this forces Han Solo to make a promise that will be difficult to keep, but he doesn’t give up. Clarke’s performance in Solo is not as infectious as Ehrenreich’s, but she does well enough to keep the story moving and audiences interested.
The most anticipated performance in Solo, however, has been Donald Glover’s portrayal as Lando Calrissian. Much like Harrison Ford’s Han Solo, Billy Dee Williams’ Calrissian has been a fan favorite since the original trilogy and, so, audiences have been wondering if he’d be able to live up to the role. Fortunately, he passed with flying colors. Glover was an excellent choice to play Lando Calrissian and to play opposite Ehrenreich.
Unfortunately, not all performances shine. Woody Harrelson’s involvement as Beckett is forgettable and could’ve been filled by another actor or omitted entirely. When he’s not onscreen, Harrelson is rarely thought of unless outright mentioned.
As far as the storytelling goes, it feels disjointed, and that could be a result of the mixup in directors throughout the production of this project. Some of the scenes don’t mesh well with each other, and the emotions they mean to project are all over the place. Additionally, the overall story is somewhat inconsequential. While it’s a fun adventure, for the most part, there is little exposition and the audience is expected to figure out how Han came to be through events that occur offscreen.
There were a couple events, which I won’t go into detail about for those who’ve yet to see the film, that could turn into something more in any possible sequels. In particular, a reveal toward the end surprised viewers. This film also sets the stage for Solo’s meeting and involvement with Jabba the Hutt, and that’s what fans really want to see. Solo, by itself, fails to deliver.
As Han is striving to become a pilot, we only ever see one captivating space chase. The other sequences are on the slower side and are meant to fill time.
So far, Solo has not met box office expectations and that doesn’t come as a surprise. Rogue One is comparably better. But, to its credit, Solo is more focused than The Last Jedi and paves the way for a sequel that will get the job done.
In the years to come, Solo will have to go solo and be relegated as a footnote in the Star Wars cinematic universe — or, galaxy.
This review originally appeared on Salt Lake Film Review