'Star Wars: A Solo Story' review: Disappointing, marginally entertaining


The third act of the movie has major problems and feels uninspired.

The man who took the job, Alden Ehrenreich, does not look or sound like Ford, and it's hard to adjust at the beginning.

Costume Designers David Crossman and Glyn Dillon said that they had to produce the most number of costumes for this one movie, compared to anything that they have done before for a "Star Wars" film.

Granted, there was about only 15 minutes left in the movie, but it felt like an eternity.

I keep harping about "fun" but that's what Solo has that Rogue One and even most of The Last Jedi were lacking. "Star Wars" spawned sequel after sequel after sequel, and then started spinning off stand-alone pictures. A lot of this was because of the character of Han Solo; he had the coolest ship, he was charming and amusing, and his best friend was a giant bear dog who could rip people's arms out of their sockets. Howard seems particularly attuned to these humanizing details, even if he can't do anything about the general treatment of the movie's female characters.

Ron Howard's standalone Han Solo origin story is now scoring 67 on reviews aggregate website Metacritic (based on 31 reviews so far). (Photo by AP) Alden Ehrenreich, Donald Glover, a person dressed as the character Chewbacca, Paul Bettany and Phoebe Waller-Bridge pose for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of Solo: A Star Wars Story. The Kessel Run actually felt like something that needed to be dramatised, and Ron Howard does a really good job of making it a truly legendary mission.

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That's certainly not my only issue with the movie. We also get more insight into the character as we find out behind the ladies' man show, he was raised by a strong apparently single mother. Ron Howard replaced original directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller after they were fired by Lucasfilm, and now actress Emilia Clarke has explained how Howard helped put the cast and crew's fears at bay. Alden Ehrenreich overcomes a lot of skepticism to make this incarnation of Han Solo both recognizable and also his own.

Young's photography goes from smoky original "Blade Runner" vibe in the beginning to wide epic shots by the end. And Donald Glover is a blast as Solo's friendly nemesis-frenemis?-Lando Calrissian.

In terms of new characters, the key figures are Qi'ra ("Game of Thrones'" Emilia Clarke), the girl in Han's life, and his motivation for much of what ensues; and Beckett (Woody Harrelson), a smuggler/thief whose anything-for-a-buck mentality will play a role in forging - and defining the contours of - Han's own moral code. This is how Solo was before the galaxy chewed up all the youthful optimism he had about life and spit him back out.

Good but not great, if you are a Star Wars fan you should probably go and see it regardless of what critics say. Even as we start to see the vestiges of who Han Solo will become pile up-each one done for maximum audience cheers-the script by Lawrence and Jonathan Kasdan gives us twists to the plot that feel like a proper heist movie.

Like 2016's "Rogue One", "Solo" is a prequel that sets up "Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope".

To this point, all the movies released so far since Disney took over Lucasfilm have been enormous money makers, so obviously the studio won't want to slow down. Rolling Stone magazine's Peter Travers described the movie ride delivered by Solo as "mild, rather than wild", while The New York Times' A O Scott thought that although the film didn't take itself too seriously, "it also holds whatever irreverent, anarchic impulses it might possess in careful check".