SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY Reviews Are In - Find Out What The Critics Made Of Han's Origin Movie

SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY Reviews Are In - Find Out What The Critics Made Of Han's Origin Movie

The embargo has lifted, and the first wave of reviews for Ron Howard's Solo: A Star Wars Story are in. The initial reactions were a little more positive than many expected, but do the reviews follow suit?

Solo: A Star Wars Story was shaping up to be the first major misfire (however you may feel about the previous three films, they made bank) for Disney since they took over the Star Wars franchise, but despite numerous production woes and behind-the-scenes turmoil, it looks like Kathleen Kennedy and co. have brought us another successful adventure in the galaxy far, far away.

At least, according to the majority of critics.

Most seem to agree that this origin story for one of the most popular characters in cinema history works pretty well overall, with only a few minor nitpicks here and there. That said, some seemed to feel that the film had much bigger problems, and a handful weren't very impressed at all.

The general consensus so far seems mixed-to-positive.

We've rounded up some excerpts from the first wave of review to give you a better idea of the critical reaction.

To view all of the review excerpts at once, simply click on the VIEW LIST (ONE PAGE) button below!

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Despite the intermittent lags, the production proves to be more than a salvage operation thanks mainly to those engagingly choreographed performances, led by an irresistibly charismatic title turn from Alden Ehrenreich who ultimately claims Solo as his own even if he doesn’t entirely manage to convince us he’s Harrison Ford.


Solo is technically a Star Wars movie, but it’s one that has set pieces in place of a personality. It’s a film whose base level is “fine”. Despite some unique cinematography from Bradford Young, Ron Howard’s direction is staid, stolid, and completely without personality, which is a problem when your movie is the story of a young rogue like Han Solo. Solo doesn’t do anything egregiously wrong, but it doesn’t do much right, either.

The Wrap:

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. As an intergalactic adventure, it’s mostly adequate, with some very successful elements, but if you stripped the “Star Wars” names and places and put it into the world as a free-standing sci-fi-action movie, it’s doubtful that it would spawn much excitement, let alone sequels.

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Your mileage may vary, but it took this reviewer about seven minutes to decide she was fully on board with this version of Han. Which is fortunate, because Solo really only works if you care a whole lot about Han... For once, this is a Star Wars movie that's more interested in the small picture than the big one. Solo is the most intimate, ground-level Star Wars movie we've ever gotten, and the visuals are correspondingly gritty and grimy.


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. Its performances, starting with Alden Ehrenreich as the young Han Solo and extending to the film-stealing Donald Glover as his wily frenemy Lando Calrissian, are consistently entertaining. And thanks to cinematographer Bradford Young, “Solo”
allows for moments of real grit and something approaching interstellar realism amid all of the expectedly topnotch VFX.

The Guardian:

Solo: A Star Wars Story moreover has a glorious origin myth meet-cute to set up one of cinema’s greatest bromances: the stoic wookiee Chewbacca and the insolently handsome freebooting rebel pilot Han Solo – and Alden Ehrenreich absolutely crushes the role to powder, swaggeringly reviving the memory of the young Harrison Ford’s romantic gallantry. And there’s another meet-cute, come to think of it: the love that flowers between man and machine, between the reckless pilot and the sleekly iconic Millennium Falcon.

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The Verge:

But like its title character pulling off a crazy scheme just in the nick of time, Solo is a swashbuckling success, a space adventure that pays homage to the DNA of the original films while carving out its own unique space in the canon. It’s a sheer delight, but it also has the courage to explore the darker aspects of a character who could have all too easily been polished to an inoffensive, family-friendly Disney sheen. Solo represents the most refined iteration yet of the new Disney / Lucasfilm formula — and cements longtime series screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan’s place as the defining voice of the Star Wars universe.


Speaking of Glover, it’s no spoiler to say that the Atlanta star is easily the best thing in this good-not-great movie. More than any big action set piece or narrative double cross (and there are plenty of them thanks to a smooth crime boss played by Paul Bettany), it’s Glover’s mack-daddy, Colt 45 swagger as the rakish gambler formerly played by Billy Dee Williams that will be the thing you’ll be buzzing about after the lights come up (well, that and how much you’d rather see his standalone origin story). Unlike most of the recent Star Wars films, Solo feels more like a character study than an epic sci-fi adventure. The Empire is present, but mostly as a presence felt rather than seen.


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. Punch it, Chewie.


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Total Film:

And Ehrenreich? He pretty much nails it, cleaving close enough to Harrison Ford’s voice and mannerisms, swagger and heart, that you actually begin to think he looks like a young Ford the more the movie goes on. Don’t expect this movie to fly solo – a flyboy franchise is a guarantee.


Much like Han Solo himself, the film isn't without flaws, but none stem from actor Alden Ehrenreich's portrayal of the iconic outlaw. Any apprehensions should quickly melt away, as the 28-year-old captures Han Solo's roguish charm without impersonating Harrison Ford. As you might expect, Glover's take on the suave Lando Calrissian (and his many capes) is the scene-stealer throughout. In fact, some of the biggest laughs of any Star Wars film to date come courtesy of Lando and his sassy droid and co-pilot, L3-37 (Phoebe Waller-Bridge). Let's just say she is...not shy.


Ultimately, Solo is a hell of a lot of fun. That fun is the result of the actors and the characters they play. At the center of it all is Alden Ehrenreich, who makes Han Solo his own. Is Ehrenreich a modern-day Harrison Ford? Absolutely not, and that’s okay. 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.

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AZ Central:

Ehrenreich is fine as Solo — it’s a tricky role and he doesn’t do any damage to Ford’s legacy (as if he could). There’s not nearly enough of Glover, but Clarke is good. Waller-Bridge, or more properly her voice, steals the scenes she appears in. (Her offhand advice to a recently freed droid may be the best thing in the movie.) It’s all very professional (a Howard hallmark) and all very efficient (ditto), even with a two hour and 15 minute running time. It’s got a couple of gasps, a lot of action and a built-in “Star Wars” audience, pretty much everything a movie needs except one: a compelling reason for being.

Toronto Sun:

Besides being an entertaining romp through space, Solo is also the most lighthearted and fun film so far in the expanded Star Wars universe. For this reason, it will resonate with fans who grew up on the original trilogy, as well as kids that are relatively new to the franchise.

The Atlantic:

Best of all, the movie is different. There’s no Death Star or Starkiller Base, no Imperial vessel or HQ that needs to be infiltrated in order to turn off a shield or tractor beam or interstellar tracker. There’s no mumbo jumbo about the Force, no lightsabers, no First Order, and scarcely a mention of the Empire. This is a movie set in the universe of Star Wars that, for once, doesn’t feel it needs to be a rehash of Star Wars.

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As unnecessary prequels go, "Solo: A Star Wars Story" isn't bad. It's not great, either, though—and despite spirited performances, knockabout humor, and a few surprising or rousing bits, there's something a bit too programmed about the whole thing.

These lower stakes, characterized by a breezy, playful tone, are refreshing in a "Star Wars" movie, which got me thinking: The galaxy is big enough for many different types of films. They don't all have to be ultimate good versus ultimate evil, full of lightsabers and space battles. While "Solo" has had controversy off screen and has issues on it, perhaps it's most important contribution will be the expansion of the idea of what a "Star Wars Story" can be.

Pop Matters:

A perfect popcorn movie for those looking to shake off the mass-tragedy blues of Avengers: Infinity War and the existential crises of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Solo: A Star Wars Story, an origin story for the eminently popular Han Solo character, is every bit the thrill ride you'd want to kick off the summer blockbuster season.

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UK Independent:

There is nothing much here that will surprise Star Wars fans but there is nothing that should disappoint them either. No light sabres are on display and nor is there any sign of Darth Vader but Solo: A Star Wars delivers exactly what you want and expect from a movie about the young Han Solo.


And the thing is, this isn’t the Han Solo we all know. It’s a different Solo, and that’s fine because replacing Ford as Solo is pretty much impossible. There’s an argument to be made about whether this movie even needs to exist (the box office projections would lead pretty much everyone at Lucasfilm to say, “Yes, it does”) but since it does exist, Ehrenreich does a nice job taking over a character who is impossible to recreate.

Rolling Stone:

Mere competence is, of course, not a crime against cinema. And it's pointless to compare the wild-child ride that might have been with the traditional narrative pleasures that Howard and the Kasdans put before us. But still, a little artistic rebellion wouldn't hurt. It might even help the movie stick in the memory instead of evaporating as soon as you leave the theater.

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Flickering Myth:

A spectacularly exciting journey with terrific casting and loads of fan service that will honestly probably make even novices with the lore smile, but the prequels do need to find a better middle ground between fan service and taking storytelling risks

USA Today:

Solo is more successful than Rogue One, the first spinoff from the Skywalker saga, in breaking from other Star Wars vehicles because it leans into marauders, mob syndicates and the seedier aspects of the franchise. Rather than taking another run at another Death Star, this is instead like spending two hours in the crime-infested cantina from George Lucas’ original flick that introduced Han to the universe.

Indie Wire:

For anyone wondering what former directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller’s vision might have looked like, there are scattered moments — an exaggerated facial expression here, a slightly goofy action sequence weighed down with a dramatic score there — that hint at the more comedic film they were reportedly making. It doesn’t work in such small amounts, and juxtaposed against the more straightforward charms of Howard’s film, it becomes clear just how off-kilter such a feature would be.
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