The Han and Chewbacca bromance is a highlight of the imperfect but satisfying summer blockbuster.
Solo: A Star Wars Story is Disney's second spin-off film based in a galaxy far, far away. The new prequel movie takes Star Wars fans back to the days of Han's youth. After some bumps in production (the original directors were fired) Ron Howard jumped aboard and helmed the film. Whenever there is a switch in creative leadership, fans worry that they'll get a convoluted plot. While Solo never suffers from feeling bloated or complicated, the 2-hour film does have some pacing problems.
At the beginning of the film, we meet a young Solo in love. Qi'ra, played by Game of Thrones' Emilia Clarke, is the kryptonite to Han's Superman. Before the two can run away and live a lavish life forever, they're split up and set on different paths. The best dynamic of Qi'ra and Han's relationship is the chemistry. The scenes they share together are filled with emotion, but they lack intrigue. The most entertaining relationship of the film is the one between Chewie and Han. Their bromance offers the best comic relief in the film, and it makes Han's death in The Force Awakens that much harder to stomach.
Solo is a sci-fi heist film at its core, but there is little suspense. A good heist film should leave viewers with those uneasy butterflies in their chests while the heroes and villains battle. At no point in Solo do the stakes feel high enough, to the point that our heroes never seem like they're facing real danger. That is the inherent weakness of prequels though, viewers already know who can't be killed. While Alden Ehrenreich does play a magnificent Han, it's Donald Glover's Lando Calrissian that really captures the energy of the original character the best. Billy Dee Williams first wore Lando's cape, and Glover embodies everything you would expect a young Lando to be. His relationship with L3-37, and the droids revolutionary attitude, are a highlight in the second act of the film.
The only significant issues that Solo faces are the pacing and the lackluster villain. The film moves at an awkward pace, and the entire plot revolves around the completion of two separate heists. Events don't seem to be occurring in real-time, and Dryden Vos is the most uninspired Star Wars villain ever. He looks like a basic reiteration of villainy, Vos has scars along his face and bulging veiny eyes. His villain's charm feels underrehearsed and even his anger feels manufactured. He's a cookie cutter villain that only exists to further the story.
The most interesting scene in Solo involves Qi'ra, who reaches out to a familiar face near the end of the movie. The surprise cameo feels like fan service, but they succeeded at piquing my interest. Those who are shocked at the cameo should look up the backstory of the character's legs... and that's all I'll say when it comes to that scene. Other than a few bumps, Solo is an excellent inclusion to the Star Wars movie universe. Glover and Ehrenreich shine as Lando and Han, Chewbacca and Han's bromance is heartwarming and hilarious, and the action will you give you an adrenaline rush. If you can forgive the unsteady pacing, and the lack of a truly menacing villain, Solo is an enjoyable summer flick.