By Eli Sanchez
Ron Howard’s sojourn into a Galaxy Far, Far Away with the canon filling prequel tale Solo: A Star Wars Story (B-) establishes the legacy of the legendary Star Wars smuggler-to-be and reacquaints us with some old favorites from the pantheon of Star Wars characters. Gone are the trappings of the Jedi’s quest and for the most part a band of rebels fighting against an intergalactic empire. Instead we get a standalone story of a supporting character and his origins leading to his eventual plunge into belonging to a cause. The film opens in the backwater world of Corellia among the Star Destroyer Ship Building yards, somewhat reminiscent of Star Trek‘s Kirk growing up in an uneventful part of Earth. Solo, a young man yearning to break free with his young girlfriend Qi’Ra (pronounced Kira) escaping from a life of petty crime and trying to get off-world with a stolen Hyperspace Fuel Cylinder. The film mainly stays close to some storylines borrowed from Expanded Universe literature and resets it in a way that the film only Star Wars fans can most understand and knows enough to give us Chewie and Lando to satiate the fanboy and fangirl lusts of a little something familiar with a little something new. The centerpiece of the film is the Kesel Run, the legendary flight that Han made in “less than 12 parsecs.” Though I won’t give too much away, there is some truth to the Falcon as yet another satellite dish sacrificed in the name of acrobatic trips through hyperspace and still earning the moniker the “Fastest Hunk of Junk” in the galaxy. Donald Glover’s Lando, an unrepentant heartthrob, paired with his robot co-pilot L3 and her mission to end all robot enslavement adds a nice subplot to a very simple storyline. The film’s main villain lacks a bit of depth in Paul Bettany, but we find later that there’s a great faction at work and a surprise appearance by a character that lends one to believe that Solo is just the start of a sub-trilogy in the prequel standalone Star Wars universe. Some of the storyline lacks follow-through. Overall it’s a joyous romp back through the cosmos 41 years in the making from backup director Ron Howard who had to reshoot the film in a relatively short time.