June 14, 2018
Solo is a great movie. It's fun, exciting, and great time to spend with your kids. If you're in it because you wanted to experience the origin story of the real Han Solo, take a step back.
The story is solid. We're following Han as he makes his escape from the squalor of Corellia and into the stars to become the famous pilot we know and love. He spends time with the military and thieves, fighting all ends of intergalactic politics, and it's all very exciting. Some of the scenes are even among the best in the Star Wars canon -- to which prolific director Ron Howard deserves some major credit.
But the key to this film is in the title: who the hell is Han Solo and do I even care about him?
Alden Ehrenreich isn't terrible. He's got all those Han Solo Quirks™ and Smirks™, but that doesn't make him any more real as a character. It's particularly clear when he's playing Han Solo in the beginning just as coy and cool as Harrison Ford does as Han Solo several decades in advance. Where is the character development if he's Han Solo™ the entire time? Essentially, you're getting served with a Han Solo action figure for a movie.
The question of 'do I care' is a real one that audiences are going to have to ask. As the Disney machine continues to crank out films for multiple expanding universes, is another hour-and-a-half worth it if there's going to be another sequel, prequel, spin-off or reboot (How many people have actually watched the whole MCU?) The very same problem is going to show up right here at the feet of Star Wars. I can't honestly say Rouge One was worth it. Solo barely makes the cut, which is a problem since they end the story with a lingering question about the future of some of the characters.
Reviews often have a binary appeal to them: yes or no—go buy the ticket or not. I say yeah, sure. It's fun, it's energetic, and at the very least you get to see Donald Glover lay on the sex-appeal as Lando Calrissian intermingled with an fairly epic space drama.
Also, they end the story with a subtextual 'Han shot first' joke. Keep your eyes open.