The reviews for Solo: A Star Wars Story are in, and it’s good news. Kind of.
Despite a troubled production, which included the firing of the movie’s original directors and extensive re-shoots, director Ron Howard’s finished product appears to have avoided potential disaster.
But perhaps only just, with the general critical consensus being that while it’s good, it’s not great.
Let’s start with the great, though, including the Daily Telegraph which notes that the movie ‘expands and enriches the Star Wars galaxy with thrilling new texture and detail’.
“Star Wars is in cinema’s bloodstream now, and this latest injection keeps its cell count nicely topped up,” adds critic Robbie Collin.
Peter Bradshaw in The Guardian loved it too.
“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. Who’s next for the saga? Zemeckis? Spielberg?”
Total Film reckons that it’s ‘far better than we had any right to expect. Thrilling set-pieces, spine-tingling iconography and a Han/Chewie bromance to savour’.
Meanwhile, Empire writes: “Ultimately, this is a different kind of Star Wars film to any that have gone before, with only hints of the main saga’s bigger fate-of-the-galaxy picture. And while that means the story lacks the depth some might crave, it still offers plenty of fun, and (impressively for a prequel) the odd surprise along the way.”
The less than complimentary reviews, however, bemoan a lack of substance, and the feeling of a franchise now knocking out films for the sake of it.
Peter Travers in Rolling Stone writes: “Howard and the Kasdans play the series game without ever raising the stakes, defaulting to dull and dutiful when they might have blasted off into creative anarchy.”
On the Daily Beast, it’s Solo actor Alden Ehrenreich who comes in for scrutiny: “As the defiant and foolhardy hero, Ehrenreich hits all the beats expected of him in this big-budget origin story. Yet frustratingly, he does little more than that.
“Operating in a middle-ground register that’s defined by its bland safeness, he sturdily shoulders the weight of the chaotic material while failing to bring the sort of smirky, charming vitality that made the smuggler-turned-resistance-fighter such an essential series player. In a role that demands greatness, he is, in a word, OK.
On Slate, it’s concluded that ‘the meh is strong with this one’.
“A corporate directive made flesh, a quarterly earnings report in a vest and black leather boots,” it goes on.
Variety sums it all up rather well, however: “Though burdened with a slow start and enough thirsty fan-service to power Comic-Con’s Hall H for a decade, it has a kicky, kinetic heist movie at its heart, and its action sequences are machine-tooled spectacles of the first order.”
Also starring Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover, Thandie Newton, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Joonas Suotamo, and Paul Bettany, it’s out across the UK on May 24.