‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’ an unnecessary cash grab
May 26 2018 by Johnnie Parsons
He's cocky, very charismatic and an excellent pilot, but the vulnerability and innocence that Ehrenreich gives the character add more depth. This includes: making a lifelong friend in Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo) after rescuing the Wookie from his Imperial imprisonment as a zoo-like attraction; teaming up with a band of space pirates led by the shoot first-trust no one Beckett (Woody Harrelson), who becomes a mentor for Han; meeting the suave and caped gambler Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover); and taking the Millennium Falcon for its most famous spin - making the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs. You not only see the vehicle, you see Han Solo (now played by Alden Ehrenreich), hot-wiring it (grand theft Landspeeder), as he makes off with valuable contraband that he and his girlfriend, Qi'ra (Game of Thrones' Emilia Clarke), intend to use to buy their way off a dismal, oppressive planet.
Solo is the first of the new films to not open in December, and the first to come less than a year before the previous instalment. The screenplay, by "Empire Strikes Back" writer Lawrence Kasdan and his son, Jonathan Kasdan, maintains a consistent tone that's lighter and looser than the typical "Star Wars" movie without spinning out of control. Having Howard tell the story of a roguish maker of mischief is the equivalent of putting Tinseltown's most beloved teacher's pet in charge of Senior Prank Week, and there's not much fun in that.
Finally Solo also featured a surprise cameo in the form of Darth Maul, a character movie-only audiences will have assumed was dead since his fight with Obi Wan in The Phantom Menace. Also, some folks who are not so big on the franchise may need a little refresher on their knowledge on mainstays like Han Solo as well.
Obviously, there will be spoilers for the ending of Solo: A Stars Wars Story, so if you haven't seen it yet, go do that right now. Glover plays it pretty much straight and bounces nicely off Ehrenreich. And a huge reason for his popularity is Harrison Ford's iconic portrayal of the character. You can't help but wonder what the end result would have been if Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, who were fired deep into production, had gotten to see their project through to the end, or what it would have been like had Howard been involved since the beginning, but there are no obvious cracks or seams.
Donald Glover On Lord & Miller's Exit From 'Solo: A Star Wars Story'
"Neither Joe or I can remember where it is exactly", Christian said.
"Mr. Ehrenreich pulls it off, to the extent that anyone can consummate an impossible act of anticipatory mimicry", Morgenstern wrote. In other words, it's good to be Disney. In particular, The Seattle Times review calls out the young actor for being too arrogant, sporting a smirk rather than a grin, whereas Vulture's review critiques him for being too likable.
This tension shows up in the performance of Ehrenreich, doing an inconsistent impersonation of Ford, and one that feels less successful and assured than the Billy Dee Williams homage we get from Donald Glover here as Lando Calrissian.
A nonsense line from the 1977 picture about how the Millennium Falcon "made the Kessel run in under 12 parsecs" becomes the motor for a hugely entertaining heist and ensuing chase sequence that makes up this movie's midsection, enlisting Donald Glover's smooth-talking Lando, and his sassy, independent-minded droid (voiced by the very amusing Phoebe Waller-Bridge) under the supervision of Bettany's deadly chief lieutenant Qi'ra (an unconvincing Emilia Clarke) who just so happens to be Han's childhood sweetheart. More and more of the fans I knew kept telling me the same story - hundreds of extras to make the event happen.