It wasn’t that long ago that Solo: A Star Wars Story seemed to be in serious trouble.
The film’s initial directors Chris Miller and Phil Lord were booted in favour of Ron Howard, and leading man Alden Ehrenreich reportedly needed extra coaching to embody the saga’s favourite smuggler. Thanks to that unusually public backstage turmoil, it felt like Solo may have become the first Disney Star Wars film to land dead on arrival.
After all that chaos, reviewers have finally had their say on Solo: It’s fine. But probably just fine.
For Rolling Stone, Peter Travers said that Howard presented a pretty palatable tale of the rogue’s origins that doesn’t delve into any unexpected corners.
“Howard and [screenwriters Lawrence and Jonathan Kasdan] play the series game without ever raising the stakes, defaulting to dull and dutiful when they might have blasted off into creative anarchy,” he said.
Andrew Barker mirrored that take for Variety, saying that Solo “retains an almost religious reverence for the franchise’s legacy, and the free-spirited story at its center is too often larded down with the weight of the past.”
Similarly capable: the movie’s leading man. Michael Rechstaffen‘s review for The Hollywood Reporter states Ehrenreich “captures enough of [Harrison Ford’s] genial swagger to earn Solo bragging rights — even if the performance could have benefited from flashing a few fewer winks.”
As for Donald Glover’s Lando Calrissian? If you watched teasers for the film and assumed he’d be a standout, you’d be exactly right. Rechstaffen said Glover is “casually scene-stealing,” and even explores one of the film’s most interesting relationships – that between him and sentient droid L3-37 [Phoebe Waller-Bridge].
A.O. Scott for the New York Times sums it up, saying Solo “doesn’t take itself too seriously, but it also holds whatever irreverent, anarchic impulses it might possess in careful check.”
If that’s your bag, catch the film when it touches down on May 24.