How does “Solo: A Star Wars Story” fare without Harrison Ford playing the title scoundrel-turned-hero? The prequel stars Alden Ehrenreich (“Rules Don’t Apply,” “Hail Caesar!”) as the young Han Solo and Donald Glover (“Atlanta“) as the young Lando Calrissian, but its journey to the big screen wasn’t without a few significant bumps in the road.
The film started shooting with directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (“The Lego Movie,” “21 Jump Street”) at the helm, but midway through production they left the film due to creative differences and replaced with Oscar winner Ron Howard (“A Beautiful Mind”). That kind of behind-the-scenes drama doesn’t usually bode well for a project.
However, “Solo” has met with largely positive reviews, scoring 63 on MetaCritic and rated 70% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. The Tomatometer consensus calls it “a flawed yet fun and fast-paced space adventure” that “should satisfy newcomers to the saga as well as longtime fans who check their expectations at the theater door.” The film is “crackingly enjoyable” with “crisp, engaging action sequences.” It’s a “largely enjoyable” experience in Howard’s “capable hands,” though it “doesn’t possess many extraordinary elements.”
Where do you stand on the new “Star Wars” prequel? See what some of the critics had to say below, and join the discussion on this and more with your fellow movie fans in our forums.
Kate Erbland (IndieWire): “As an origin story, Howard’s film has to line up a series of expected beats … but ‘Solo’ crams all that stuff into an entertaining package that can also stand alone … It may be a prequel, and it may ostensibly stand alone, but it fits into the wider galaxy with ease.”
Peter Bradshaw (The Guardian): “‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’ is a crackingly enjoyable adventure which frankly deserves full episode status in the great franchise, not just one of these intermittent place-holding iterations. Ron Howard was born to direct it … and Alden Ehrenreich absolutely crushes the role to powder, swaggeringly reviving the memory of the young Harrison Ford’s romantic gallantry.”
Rodrigo Perez (The Playlist): “The MVP of ‘Solo’ beyond Howard’s crisp, engaging action sequences is cinematographer Bradford Young (“Selma,” ” Arrival,” Ain’t Them Bodies Saints“) and the beauty of the gritty tone and mood he injects into the film … But the film otherwise doesn’t possess many extraordinary elements.”
Lindsey Bahr (Associated Press): “There’s a lot for fans to digest as the film speeds through a check-list of Han’s origin components … And that experience, in director Ron Howard’s very capable hands, is a largely enjoyable one … ‘Solo’ is a straightforward piece of pulpy entertainment with some very agreeable performances from Ehrenreich and Glover.”