You had me at MORE STAR WARS.
At least that’s what to some (maybe even most) people is enough to watch anything with the words star and wars in the title. If you’re like me, you did not want this spin-off. The fear of messing up the icon, the one and only Han Solo kept my excitement at a low simmer. So … did they?
The clear answer is NO. Alden Ehrenreich is seemlessly slipping into Han’s shoes and his face merges with Ford’s features like father and son. The smirk, the arrogance, the clear attraction to doing the right thing, he’s got it down. He joins forces with a group of scallywags, led by Beckett (Woody Harrelson). Their dynamic is very similar to Star Lord and Yondu, except Woody’s character being a little more ruthless.
The audience is presented with a ping pong match of whether they can trust each other, grow together like a family, build a mentorship situation or screw each other over at any moment. This is also true for mostly any relationship on screen. A game of who can perform the longest con and who is revealed as the real puppet master after the curtain has fallen. Combine this with huge action sequences, heists and flying stunts – you got yourself the story of Han’s life.
And just a pinch of romance. Emilia Clarke as Qi’ra has just as much charm as Han and is an expert at suriving. However, one of the greatest love stories ever written is the one of Han and Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo). Their first encounter is definitely one of the highlights in the movie. Chewie has always been able to convey a lot of, sometimes even the most impactful, emotions and that ability continues in this instalment. And I could not talk about charm without mentioning Lando Calrissian. Donald Glover is reeeeaally charismatic. His appeal is almost tangibly freezing time to a point where you could cut the tension in the room with Lara Croft’s climbing axe. Lando takes what he wants and does not limit himself with one prefered species or gender.
As for the story… let’s just say don’t watch it past your usual bed time. It’s not the original trilogy but it’s also not the prequels. You’ll be highly entertained, no doubt, but I would not recommend watching this movie as a first introduction to the Star Wars franchise. It’s a good stand-alone that has very rewarding character moments. And Woody Harrelson. Am I the only one who finds him hilarious no matter what he does?