The reviews are now slowly pouring in for “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” and critics say that fans of the Lucasfilm franchise will get their money’s worth.
With 71 reviews logged, Rotten Tomatoes reports that Ron Howard’s origin story for Han Solo currently has a 72 percent score. While that’s not bad, it is the lowest score for a Disney-released “Star Wars” film as the franchise’s previous anthology, “Rogue One,” scored 85 percent. But then again, “Revenge of the Sith” scored 79 percent in 2005, and we all know how fans reacted to that one …
The general consensus seems to be that while “Solo” doesn’t push the envelope for the franchise the way “The Last Jedi” did in December, it’s still an enjoyable summer flick with charming performances and enough fanservice to give “Star Wars” diehards their money’s worth. The film faced a flood of bad publicity during production with Howard replacing Chris Miller and Phil Lord as directors — leading to extensive reshoots — but critics say it all comes together well into a fun galactic heist film.
Praise was particularly given to Alden Ehrenreich and Donald Glover, who play a young Han Solo and Lando Calrissian respectively, and are tasked with filling in the huge shoes left by Harrison Ford and Billy Dee Williams’ memorable performances in the original trilogy.
“Ehrenreich proved his old-school star quality with his daffy and charming performance in ‘Hail, Caesar!’ and here he pulls off the daunting task of stepping in for Harrison Ford, masking the character’s commitment to seemingly lost causes with devil-may-care insouciance,” said TheWrap’s Alonso Duralde.
“The ‘Star Wars’ movies always criminally underutilized Billy Dee Williams as Lando, but Glover sweeps this film off its feet as often as he can, swanning through it like the Cary Grant of Outer Space,” Duralde added.
But some critics said that “Solo” doesn’t go far enough, feeling like a checklist of references to the original trilogy and hewing too closely to it rather than have a voice of its own.
“It’s all very professional (a Howard hallmark) and all very efficient (ditto), even with a two hour and 15 minute running time,” said The Arizona Republic’s Bill Goodykuntz. “It’s got a couple of gasps, a lot of action and a built-in ‘Star Wars’ audience, pretty much everything a movie needs except one: a compelling reason for being.”
“Solo” hits theaters May 25.
Check out more critics’ thoughts below.
“In some ways, this movie is the antidote to the sort of ‘Star Wars’ movie that viewers who despised the prankishly irreverent and oddly introspective ‘The Last Jedi’ seem to have wanted: one where the payoffs to setups are italicized so that nobody can miss them, artistic license is subordinated to brand management, and every reference, no matter how small, that was so lovingly memorized by devotees of the franchise is placed under a spotlight for the audience’s recognition and self-congratulation. It’s checklist mythology, but thankfully served up with enough panache to make the trip engaging.”
“Ehrenreich offers up his own take on Han, adding new personality wrinkles and idiosyncrasies and while his performance has almost zero chance of having the impact on pop culture that Ford’s did, the truth is that, throughout Solo, I never once cared to make that comparison. Ehrenreich’s Solo is fully realized, completely likable, and most importantly, captures the essence of the character without coming off like a slavish caricature.”
“There’s no Death Star or Starkiller Base, no Imperial vessel or HQ that needs to be infiltrated in order to turn off a shield or tractor beam or interstellar tracker. There’s no mumbo jumbo about the Force, no lightsabers, no First Order, and scarcely a mention of the Empire. This is a movie set in the universe of ‘Star Wars’ that, for once, doesn’t feel it needs to be a rehash of ‘Star Wars.'”
“‘Solo’ doesn’t have the emotional heft or lingering impact of ‘The Force Awakens,’ ‘The Last Jedi’ or, indeed, ‘Rogue One,’ but it’s the most fun entry since ‘A New Hope.’ All the scenes you’d want and expect are here – Han happening upon his odd surname; Han winning the Millennium Falcon off Lando Calrissian in a game of Sabacc; that death-defying Kessel Run – while there are crowd-pleasing Easter eggs galore and a real sense that this snappy, intimate tale takes place in a much larger universe freighted with deep history and glorious futures as yet unwritten.”
“People are going to be surprised at how much they want another Han Solo film, not just because this first crack at it is incredibly fun, but also due to the HOLY S— cameo teaser near the end that opens up a whole new realm of possibilities. The casting works — Harrison Ford or not it really does feel like Han Solo — and the adventures left to tell with these characters might as well be endless. The [anthology films] do need to find a better middle ground between fan service and taking storytelling risks, but they are undeniably essential blockbuster fun all the same.”