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Solo: A Star Wars Story Early Reviews: Fun, Light, But Flawed Bromance

The first reviews for the latest standalone Star Wars adventure say it has issues, but it's ultimately a worthy addition to the saga.

by | May 16, 2018 | Comments

(Photo by Walt Disney Studios)

Another Star Wars Story is here, and according to the critics the young Han Solo chronicles are a fine but faulty diversion while we wait for the ninth and final episode of the “Skywalker Saga.” While Solo: A Star Wars Story’s Rotten Tomatoes score is on the lower end for the franchise at 73% on the Tomatometer, that’s still on the fresh side. And that should be good enough for the fans.

What exactly does the spinoff prequel do well and what exactly are it’s flaws? Here’s a breakdown of the Solo reviews:


How does Solo compare to the rest of the Star Wars franchise?

Solo is the most intimate, ground-level Star Wars movie we’ve ever gotten.
Angie Han, Mashable

Solo isn’t the worst Star Wars movie—your record is safe, The Phantom Menace — just the one with the least compelling reason to exist.
Sam Adams, Slate

It’s the best goddamn Star Wars film released under the Mouse House. Better yet, it’s the most fun anyone has had in this far, far away galaxy since [the Reagan era].
Michael Roffman, Consequence of Sound

The first dud of the new series.
Rafer Guzman, Newsday

This might also be the least epic Star Wars movie to date.
Alonso Duralde, The Wrap

The creature and set design in Solo are some of the best we’ve ever seen in Star Wars.
Germain Lussier, io9

Solo was the first Star Wars movie in a long time that gave me anything like the light-hearted thrill I first felt seeing A New Hope as a kid.
Kaila Hale-Stern, The Mary Sue

Walt Disney Studios
(Photo by Walt Disney Studios)

Will fans of Star Wars like it?

Anyone who’s spent time playing make believe with Han Solo action figures will enjoy it immensely.
Julia Alexander, Polygon

Even without lightsaber battles or Jedi or anyone aligned with the formal Rebellion, it still captures a humor and pace Star Wars audiences expect.
Kate Erbland, IndieWire

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.
Matt Zoller Seitz, RogerEbert.com

For fans, it’s packed with Star Wars references. And I mean packed. Some are big and obvious, others are small and subtle, but it’s a film that will make anyone who has studied Star Wars happy in one way or the other.
– Germain Lussier, io9

Solo isn’t a movie for the fans so much as at them, harnessing its makers’ considerable skill and experience to gratify the urge for the familiar, with no pretense or aspiration of doing anything else.
– Sam Adams, Slate

How is Alden Ehrenreich as young Han Solo?

The Han here isn’t the Han we met in A New Hope. He’s younger, funnier, more cocky. And Ehrenreich knows just how to play him – with a sense of wide-eyed optimism slowly being eroded away by reality.
– Chris Evangelista, Slashfilm

Ehrenreich’s take on Han is charming and effective, and it’s easy to see how his big-talking striver will morph into the lovable rogue that Ford played.
– Kate Erbland, IndieWire

Ehrenreich has found a way to make the role his own, and in doing so to show us this familiar character from a fresh perspective.
– Angie Han, Mashable

While Ehrenreich picks up a Han-like cockiness as things progress, he still feels woefully miscast. There’s nothing roguish about Ehrenreich.
– Kristy Puchko, Pajiba

Ehrenreich feels so disconnected from the original Solo I honestly forgot at times that he was playing the same character. It took someone onscreen yelling “Han!” to remind me that I wasn’t watching Chewbacca’s Nice Friend: A Star Wars Story.
– Matt Singer, ScreenCrush

Walt Disney Studios
(Photo by Walt Disney Studios)

How’s Ehrenreich’s chemistry with Chewbacca?

The first meetup between Han and Chewbacca is going to go down as one of the all-time classic meet-cutes.
Danielle Solzman, Solzy at the Movies

As for Chewie, his blossoming friendship with Han is basically the heart of the movie; before Han meets his Wookiee friend, the movie doesn’t feel… right.
Germain Lussier, io9

The closeness between Han and Chewie makes the movie.
Brian Truitt, USA Today

How is the rest of the ensemble?

[Glover’s Lando is] an amusing but superficial performance, made up mostly of wardrobe.
Rafer Guzman, Newsday

It’s obvious Glover is having a blast as Lando, oozing with confidence and humor.
Germain Lussier, io9

Harrelson is an absolute delight to watch in this film, playing Beckett with a mixture of charm and weariness.
Chris Evangelista, Slashfilm

A character called Rio, voiced by Jon Favreau, bears the unmistakable stamp of Rocket Raccoon from Guardians of the Galaxy.
Ann Hornaday, Washington Post

L3 came out of left field and helped turn Solo into a movie deeper than its flashy surface.
Kaila Hale-Stern, The Mary Sue

 How’s the romance?

Within five minutes, Kasdan establishes that, yes, love does belong in this galaxy, something that’s been virtually obsolete in the new films.
Michael Roffman, Consequence of Sound

The lukewarm chemistry between Ehrenreich and Clarke doesn’t help matters, no matter how many times the script commands they make out.
– Kristy Puchko, Pajiba

Ehrenreich has more chemistry with everyone else around him [than with Qi’ra].
– Kaila Hale-Stern, The Mary Sue

Walt Disney Studios
(Photo by Walt Disney Studios)

Does Solo do the Star Wars mythology justice?

The infamous Kessel Run is a full-on delight.
– Mike Ryan, Uproxx

The action scenes in Solo—the Kessel Run in particular—are edge-of-your-seat exciting, because they have real consequences.
– Germain Lussier, io9

Even the greatest of filmmakers aren’t likely to be able to give us images, performances and moments that exceed the ones we’ve been imagining forever.
– Matt Zoller Seitz, RogerEbert.com

What else does it get right?

[It’s] a rootin’ tootin’ heist movie.
– Mike Ryan, Uproxx

There are great scenes that people looking for more traditional action in their Star Wars movies will enjoy, including a heist sequence that’s reminiscent of The Matrix Reloaded’s kinetic car chase.
– Julia Alexander, Polygon

What works best in Solo are the performances, from droids voiced by Jon Favreau and Phoebe Waller-Bridge to the utterly charismatic Ehrenreich and Glover.
– Alonso Duralde, The Wrap

There isn’t anything resembling a Death Star, Darth Vader doesn’t make another bulls**t appearance, and you won’t hear a single maudlin speech about the Force. Instead, you get narrow escapes, unlikely losses, welcome alliances, and Jerry-rigged solutions, all with a rogues gallery of characters who never forget how far this galaxy can go.
– Michael Roffman, Consequence of Sound

So what’s the problem?

If the goal here was to really understand how a brash kid from a backwater planet became an amoral smuggler, Solo failed.
Matt Singer, ScreenCrush

Solo is the first Star Wars film in recent memory that feels like it’s selling something… Solo merely exists to set up more Solo movies. And it shows.
Chris Evangelista, Slashfilm

[It] isn’t a stand-alone film so much as a corporate directive made flesh, a quarterly earnings report in a vest and black leather boots.
Sam Adams, Slate

Solo is less a movie than it’s that page in Highlights Magazine that makes you feel good for finding the chair and the bicycle in the hidden picture.
– Alonso Duralde, The Wrap

There’s a sense of laziness in the film’s story structure that keeps it bogged down like a car trying to get out of a ditch. The wheels are spinning but it’s not going anywhere.
Clayton Davis, Awards Circuit

Some of the unthinking racism that damaged The Phantom Menace returns here… and the longer the film goes on, the clearer it becomes that Solo, like many a Star Wars film before it, is not too interested in women.
Matt Zoller Seitz, RogerEbert.com

But is it a fun time at the movies?

Solo is a hell of a lot of fun.
Chris Evangelista, Slashfilm

Solo: A Star Wars Story is a fun time, even for those feeling like they may be developing Star Wars fatigue.
Danielle Solzman, Solzy at the Movies

[It] has the makings of a rewatchable and enjoyable flick for a popcorn night.
Clayton Davis, Awards Circuit


Solo: A Star Wars Story opens everywhere on Friday, May 25. Read all the reviews for it here.

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