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Is 'Solo: A Star Wars Story' a Kid-Friendly Movie?
Adventure. Excitement. Han Solo craves these things. The space cowboy is a favorite for many Star Wars fans, and has found a new following from the younger crowd. In fact, my 11-year-old lists Han and Darth Maul as his two favorite Star Wars characters.
Solo: A Star Wars Story is one of the side stories fans wanted to see. However, it is also one of now five Star Wars movies with a PG-13 rating for its sci-fi action and violence.
Most children used to Star Wars movies will expect the action and violence seen on screen in the movie. There are some close battle scenes, spaceship battles, and even what happens when you fight with a Wookiee.
The marketing for the movie certainly prepares the viewer for what's in store. The marketing has a nostalgic feel, and there's a lot of nostalgia moments and references to other movies in the franchise. My son especially liked seeing a character saying things to young Han (played by Alden Ehrenreich) that old Han eventually says to Finn and Rey in The Force Awakens.
It is also an origin story, showing fans how Han and Chewbacca (played by Joonas Suotamo) met, how Han and Lando (played by Donald Glover) met, and how Han met the Millennium Falcon. Probably the only thing not shown is how Han originally got the dice, even though the novelty item is seen often throughout the movie.
Because it is also a prequel of sorts, some suspense is taken away from scenes involving risky situations as you know Han, Chewie, Lando and the Falcon all survive the movie. It is also obvious ties will eventually be cut with other characters in some way, as they are never seen in other movies. Characters fans know from other movies were mentioned, and one major cameo was made, but it may have been better if one of the main new characters became someone already known by another name.
Director Ron Howard had a big task ahead of him when taking on this story, as it easily could have been another The Phantom Menace. Fortunately, he kept action throughout the movie, with Han narrowly escaping each challenge presented to him, showing how Han became the loveable scoundrel.
Unfortunately, the movie doesn't make you love Han more. It makes aspects of his character more interesting, but doesn't make you love him.
However, Glover makes up for it with his portrayal of Lando Calrissian. Everything you've heard about Lando is shown through Glover's performance as he impresses, swindles, and experiences loss in his scenes.
New characters Tobias Beckett and Qi'ra (played by Woody Harrelson and Emilia Clarke) provide the framework for the Han Solo character we see in the future. Quite a bit of what he does in Episodes IV-VII is learned by what these characters taught him in the movie. Both are also impressive in their fighting abilities, even though one of Qi'ra's was behind closed doors.
Unlike other Star Wars movies, there are no cute or silly characters to win over children. In fact, the leading droid, L3-37 - who does cause some entertaining trouble - would be described as rude by C-3PO. (This, by the way, is the first Star Wars movie to not include Threepio or Artoo.)
The action throughout makes this good movie for young Star Wars fans, as long as they aren't expecting Jedi. My son was never bored, and even held my arm and pulled his legs close to his chest for the Kessel Run. There are great nostalgic moments, but it isn't the best Star Wars movie. It should still make for a fun summer matinee for the kids.
© 2018 Samantha Sinclair