What with all the re-shoots, new directors, and rumors of certain actors not embodying their lead role as a certain smuggler in a certain galaxy far, far away, expectations for Solo: A Star Wars Story haven’t been high. Well, the first reactions to early screenings of the film are in and, well, well, well, the film is said to be pretty good. There won’t be full-scale reviews until the embargo lifts on May 15th, but there doesn’t seem to be much for fans to worry about.
Solo tells the story of a young Han before he becomes the surly, supremely talented wise guy we all know and love. The film takes place about a decade before the events of A New Hope when a young Han is a pilot in the Imperial Army. Events unfold that lead him to be introduced to such companions as Chewbacca and Lando Calrissian and which detail the story of such heralded events as the Kessel Run.
Things didn’t sound good for Solo after directors Chris and Phil Lord were replaced by Ron Howard and murmors of reshoots filled the air. Film and entertainment reporter Simon Thompson wasn’t shy about his initial apprehension, but after viewing the film praised the movie’s ability to appeal to a wide breadth of audiences.
So, I was REALLY worried about #SoloAStarWarsStory but those concerns are totally laid to rest. A movie for fans AND those totally fresh to the Star Wars franchise. Heart, humor and a Falcon full of top notch action. From a worry to a favorite. Very, very happy! pic.twitter.com/VhvBSDFvjE
— Simon Thompson (@ShowbizSimon) May 11, 2018
Kevin Polowy of Yahoo Entertainment had a similar stance when he called the film “refreshing,” for not overly recycling classic Star Wars beats.
#SoloAStarWarsStory is reaaaaalllly good. Fun as hell. It’s a straight intergalactic heist movie, kind of refreshing to see a Star Wars movie w/o a Death Star or the rebellion’s fate at stake. Alden Ehrenreich is super impressive as Han, but L3 might be my favorite new character.
— Kevin Polowy (@djkevlar) May 11, 2018
In the same vein, Terri Schwartz, the Editorial Manager over at IGN pointed out that the film has the same ageless Star Wars patina. In a follow-up tweet, Schwartz also lauded the film’s reliance on practical effects rather than “any notable, obtrusive CGI.”
I really dug #SoloAStarWarsStory! I woke up this morning questioning whether I was excited for this movie and walked out ready to see Han’s next adventure on this path. It’s a super solid movie and feels true to what makes #StarWars fun.
— Terri Schwartz (@Terri_Schwartz) May 11, 2018
Still, the early reviews of Solo indicate that it is by no means a perfect film. Most of the critics had the same complaint, and it was that the first act drags its feet in the first act. Eric Eisenberg of CinemaBlend said the movie was “slow to find its footing” and Mike Ryan, a Senior Entertainment Writer at Uproxx called the first act “hit and miss clunky.” Still, both of them point out that the film eventually picks up.
Solo: A Star Wars Story is… fine. It's slow to find its footing, but picks up in the second act, and it's definitely fun. Has the occasional prequel problem answering questions I didn't need answers to, but also some fun references. Overall I liked it, didn't love it pic.twitter.com/dV02yRYueA
— Eric Eisenberg (@eeisenberg) May 11, 2018
It does take a bit to get used to Alden as Han, but after 30 minutes or so your brain adjusts. (Also I've now finally seen Clint Howard in a Star Wars movie.) #soloastarwarsstory
— Mike Ryan (@mikeryan) May 11, 2018
Despite the slow start, once the gang’s all together and the plot is thoroughly underway, Kate Erbland, a Film Editor at Indiewire says that Donald Glover and Phoebe Waller-Bridge steal the show as Lando Calrissian and his droid L3-37.
I don’t want to add too much more — review on Tuesday, y’all — but feel remiss to not add that Donald Glover is a delightful Lando and no one should sleep on what Phoebe Waller-Bridge does as his beloved droid. Solid supporting cast all around, but they are highlights.
— Kate Erbland (@katerbland) May 11, 2018
Jenna Busch, an author and Star Wars enthusiast, also thought that Glover’s stole the show as the smooth-talking Calrissian
— Jenna Busch (@JennaBusch) May 11, 2018
Beyond Busch and Erbland, Angie Han of Mashable also praised the casting.
Alden Ehrenreich is the real deal, Thandie Newton is who I want to be when I grow up, and Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s L3… well we’ll talk about that later.
So, it sounds like Ron Howard pulled it off. By all accounts, it looks like fans should expect good fun, fantastic casting, and another great installment of the franchise. Find out for yourself when Solo: A Star Wars Story will hit theaters on May 25th.