Blu-Ray Review - Solo: A Star Wars Story

When I originally tried to watch this movie in the theatres, I got pulled out in the middle of it due to a cell phone call from my overly needy son who insisted I end my afternoon off to go pick him up from where he was. So I waited for the film to be released on Blu-Ray before learning how it ended… 
Attention: Contains some spoilers. 
The movie opens on the planet Corellia in a time not too long after the events of “Revenge of the Sith”. Han (Alden Ehrenreich) has been raised as an orphan on this planet, forced to work as a thief for a local gang in order to survive. He hopes to be able to escape this life and leave with his fellow orphan and girlfriend Qi’ra (Emilia Clarke) so they can one day buy their own ship and travel the galaxy together. 
Using a vial of stolen coaxium, a powerful hyperspace fuel, they manage to bribe their way onto an outgoing transport, but Qi'ra is apprehended by their pursuers before she can board. Han is left with no choice but to leave her behind, promising to return for her one day. To escape his pursuers, he enlists in the Imperial Navy with the hopes of becoming a pilot, which would allow him to come back. 
3 years later, after getting kicked out of the Imperial Flight Academy, Han is an infantryman on a planet called Mimban. During a battle there he encounters a group of smugglers posing as Imperial soldiers. Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson), Beckett’s wife Val (Thandie Newton), and their pilot Rio Durant (voiced by Jon Favreau). Han discovers who they really are and that they are planning to steal an Imperial freighter to pull off a heist of coaxium, and attempts to blackmail them to get them to bring him along. 
Beckett instead turns Han in for desertion, who is then thrown into a pit with a “beast” as punishment. The beast turns out to be a very familiar wookie named “Chewbacca”, who Han is able to communicate with and convince to escape together. They make it to Beckett’s stolen ship just as he is leaving and he decides to bring them both along. 
Han hopes his share of the profits will finally let him be able to buy his own ship and return to Corellia and rescue Qi’ra. Unfortunately, the heist goes bad thanks to interference from a rival group called Cloud Riders, led by someone named Enfys Nest (Erin Kellyman). This failure does not go over well with the crime lord Dryden Vos (Paul Bettany) who hired them. So Han, Beckett and Chewie have no choice but to go meet Vos on his ship to try and convince him to give them another chance. 
Once there, Han is surprised to discover that Qi’ra is actually working for Vos as his second in command. She helps them to get Vos to agree to Han’s risky new plan of stealing unrefined coaxium from the mines on Kessel. 
Vos orders Qi’ra to accompany them on the job, and she leads them to Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover) in the hope of winning his ship, The Millenium Falcon, in a card game because they can’t get the coaxium to a refinery in time without a fast ship. They lose the card game because Lando cheated, but he agrees to join them anyways for a share of the profits. 
The movie attempts to hit on every question about the past life of Han Solo that was ever raised in the three films of the original Star Wars. We find out how he met Chewie, how he won the Millenium Falcon from Lando, and of course, they had to show how he made the famous “Kessel Run” in less than 12 parsecs. As well, they poke fun at every pop culture reference the character ever inspired. They touch on his famous “I’ve got a bad feeling about this” line, his “I love you…I know” moment, and even a scene at the end that decisively solves the argument about whether Han shoots first. 
All the roles were well-cast, and I never once thought that there was any character who should have been played by someone else. The Star Wars franchise has never been known for casting huge-name\high priced actors to sell their movies. Just the name Star Wars is enough. 
There is lots to love about this movie for every fanboy obsessed with the original trilogy, or even just any passive Star Wars fan who just enjoys watching the films. The film is much more light-hearted than the previous stand-alone Star Wars story “Rogue One” which was much more serious and somber and lacking much comic relief. No the case with “Solo” which offers plenty of chuckles from the moments between Han & Chewie, Han & Lando and from the supporting characters as well. I was disappointed that Jon Favreau’s character “Rio” didn’t last past the first third of the film. It was the perfect personality to give to an English-speaking motion-capture alien. Why couldn’t they have gone that route with Jar-Jar Binks? Another character I wished had gotten more screen time was Lando’s robot sidekick L3-37, an out-spoken female whose central preoccupation centres around equal rights for droids. 
The finale of the film was quite well done. You spend the last half-hour wondering just how it’s going to end, and it doesn’t end like you would expect. One of the more surprising moments is a cameo appearance from Darth Maul. For anyone not familiar with the animated Star Wars series “Clone Wars”, it’s going to be confusing to see this character in a timeline set 20 -30 years after being sliced in half by Obi-Wan Kenobi in “The Phantom Menace” (I had to go on Wikipedia to figure it out). 
Difficulty of figuring out the ending aside, what isn’t hard to figure out is that the door has been left wide open for a sequel. Just the mention of going to Tatooine is enough to make you pretty much count on it. So get ready to see a young Jabba, Greedo, Mos Eisley, and possibly what was the cargo Han dumped that got Jabba so mad at him. I’d bet there could even be a small cameo from a young Luke Skywalker or Obi Wan too. Look out fanboys, the Star Wars franchise is about to become the new Avengers.

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