‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’ Blu-Ray Review: Enjoyable Addition To The Franchise
Speaking as a casual Star Wars fan, I always enjoyed the fervor surrounding a new release in the venerable sci-fi franchise. A new Star Wars movie always felt like a big event, or at least it did until Han Solo’s anthology prequel snuck into theaters earlier this year.
Solo: A Star Wars Story failed to garner the presence all of its predecessors did, getting completely eclipsed in public mindshare by Avengers: Infinity War, another Disney flick that enjoyed a bombastic opening a month prior. I did eventually watch Solo in theaters and again on Blu-ray, so was this heist undeservedly ignored?
Set roughly ten years before the original Star Wars trilogy, Solo predictably takes it upon itself to explain how established tenants of the series’ lore came to be. Some of these, namely the genesis of Han Solo’s surname, come across as superfluous. However, from forging his lifelong bromance with Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo) to winning the Millennium Falcon, we see key events in Han’s life that informed his growth into the iconic bounty hunter we met in 1977.
By that token, it’s a forgone conclusion that series veterans will survive Solo per their later chronological appearances and most of Solo’s prominent newcomers will either perish or close their involvement in Solo’s story in a manner that preemptively explains their absence later on. And while this is inevitable given Solo’s timeline placement, it does nevertheless neuter the audience’s suspense knowing Han, Chewie and Lando are never truly in any danger.
However, Solo’s spectacle remained fun throughout, largely thanks to the camaraderie Han shared with Chewie and, to varying extents, his other teammates. Predictable, if still enjoyable, action sequences and double crosses accounted for, the cast did a great job, with Alden Ehrenreich and Donald Glover, Han Solo and Lando respectively, as the standouts. Ehrenreich in particular should be lauded for his performance as the lead; inheriting a role Harrison Ford defined decades ago is a daunting task, yet Ehrenreich rose up to the task, imbuing the rogue with a level of cockiness reminiscent of Ford’s portrayal yet different enough to stand on its own. Many of the new faces — specifically Phoebe Waller-Bridge as the affectionately sarcastic L3-37, Paul Bettany as the deceitfully jovial Dryden and Woody Harrelson as Han’s mentor Tobias Beckett — are endearing as well.
Star Wars fans looking for bonus material have plenty to enjoy; the main disc comes with a commentary track, and a second disc houses eight deleted scenes and nine making-of features. I found the most interesting bonus to be “Kasdan on Kasdan.” It discussed the father-and-son duo of longtime Star Wars writer Lawrence and Jonathan Kasdan, showing their differing philosophies that were born out of their generational gap and knowledge of the series’ mythos.