Hans Solo movie reviews were released this week and had a dominant good rating so far. It's a fun, unexpectedly bold adventure that reaches edges of the Star Wars galaxy never thought imaginable on the big screen.
Ron Howard's standalone Han Solo origin story is now scoring 67 on reviews aggregate website Metacritic (based on 31 reviews so far). But the last few years of new Star Wars films have begun to balance the race and gender demographics of the faraway galaxy's roster of heroes. Even the new score by John Powell (Jason Bourne) only soars when it samples the original John Williams theme. While Disney is delivering ambitious new additions to the property, numerous hardcore fandom seem impossible to please. Or how a de-aged Grand Moff Tarkin took you out of the film?
Every now and then, the far quirkier movie Solo could have been had Philip Lord and Christopher Miller stayed on board slips through (they were fired and replaced by Ron Howard halfway through). And luckily, Solo quickly became compelling as the pieces in young Han (Alden Ehrenreich)'s life start leading toward his inevitable turn from street ruffian to interstellar scoundrel. "RT's synopsis of the critics' aggregate opinion is that Solo is a "flawed yet fun and fast-paced space adventure" that will" satisfy newcomers to the saga as well as longtime fans who check their expectations at the theater door". I couldn't help wonder what this movie would look like if you could magically transport a young Harrison Ford to play his iconic character.
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Alden Ehrenreich ("Blue Jasmine", "Hail, Caesar!") is quite a bit smaller than Harrison Ford and he doesn't bear much of a facial resemblance to the man who made Solo a legend, but Ehrenreich delivers a winning performance and does a fantastic job at foreshadowing certain characteristics and tendencies of Ford-as-Han, without delving into impersonation. Solo lays down the foundation of what brings Han and his Wookie first mate together, with some true tug-at-your-heartstrings moments due to Ehrenreich and Suotamo's seamless chemistry.
With that out of the way, let's see if the critics are being kind to Solo: A Star Wars Story. (Some of these things happen, some don't). There are familiar scenarios, and plenty of moments of fan service - some better executed than others - but with Solo, the filmmakers are interested in actually exploring a key part of Han Solo's character. L3 also carries a surprise that will shock Star Wars fans. And we get to see that relationship blossom throughout the film as the two get to know each other - at times very intimately.
Not only is Glover's Lando getting a lot of hype, but the actor-writer-director-musician is a huge deal right now outside of Star Wars and is one of the most talented creatives around. I devoured everything I could about this character even though those books really didn't give us much insight on his past. I wasn't blown away, but I'm thoroughly compelled to watch more Solo movies, which even a week ago was not what I expected at all. It's as if Howard and the Kasdans (the father and son co-screenwriters) are working overtime to recreate the Han you know and love from the original trilogy rather than crafting a younger, more formative version from which he can evolve. Through a series of daring escapades deep within a dark and unsafe criminal underworld, Han Solo meets his mighty future copilot Chewbacca and encounters the notorious gambler Lando Calrissian, in a journey that will set the course of one of the Star Wars saga's most unlikely heroes.