×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’ Reviews: What the Critics are Saying

Early reviews are in for “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” the newest standalone space opera set in the galaxy far, far away, and the titular smuggler seems to have only just scraped by the wrath of his film critics with a 72% Rotten Tomatoes score, though not without a few bruises and blaster burns.

The two most recent installments, “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” and “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” earned 85% and 91% on Rotten Tomatoes, respectively.

The film’s notorious production history was widely publicized over the past year, the most notable event being Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy replacing directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller with Ron Howard after alleged disagreements regarding the direction of the film.

Despite its infamous public troubles, Variety‘s own Andrew Barker notes, “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.” Barker further praised Alden Ehrenreich’s performance, likening it to Ford’s original interpretation, saying that “while the performance may initially come across as a highly skilled bit of mimicry, by the film’s end he’s managed to give the role a satisfying new spin.”

Here are some takeaways from other critics:

The Atlantic’s Christopher Orr:

“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.'”

New York Post’s Johnny Oleksinski:

“Disney was bound to hit a wall sooner or later. The studio has been cranking out ‘Star Wars’ movies with the rapidity of chocolates on Lucy and Ethel’s conveyor belt. Everything started out dandy, but now they’re scrambling to keep up with the demands of cranky fans, troublesome talent and truly crazy annual release dates. Four movies in less than three years is a lot of celestial battles. ‘Solo’ is the first victim of that madcap pace — a movie so un-fun you should get college credit for watching it.

Toronto Sun’s Mark Daniell:

“Part of the real joy of watching ‘Solo’ is seeing Ehrenreich inhabit a role made famous by Ford. The insouciant charm that typified Han in his later years is here. But unlike the bruised version we saw in The Force Awakens — where he’s been separated from his wife and alienated from his son — what we get here is a Han that is full of piss, vinegar and brash enthusiasm.”

Detroit News’ Adam Graham:

“The movie’s reason for being is obvious — outside of Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader, whose backstories were told at length in the exhausting ‘Star Wars’ prequels, ‘Solo’ is likely the biggest character in the ‘Star Wars’ universe — but ‘Solo’ is too wobbly to stand on its own, and the story is too needlessly complex. Strip away the nostalgia, the familiar ‘Star Wars’ backdrop and take it for what it’s worth, and ‘Solo’ is a bit of a clunker.”

Business Insider’s Jason Guerrasio:

“To this point, all the movies released so far since Disney took over Lucasfilm have been enormous money makers, so obviously the studio won’t want to slow down. But ‘Solo’ may be the first indication that it might be time to pump the brakes and take more time to focus on the stories, and make sure everything is right (especially the creatives involved) before making a movie.”

Minneapolis Star Tribune’s Colin Covert:

“Virtually all of it is played for well-earned, cleverly timed surprises and mocking laughs. There are enough inside jokes and visual references to other films from the franchise to charm scholarly fans and sufficient stand-alone action to entice casual tourists to this universe. It’s clever, light entertainment that shoots ahead as if it was launched from an intergalactic slingshot.”

Rolling Stone’s Peter Travers:

“‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’ keeps throwing curveballs to distract us from the fact that we know all too well where this is heading. There’s no arguing that the actors are a likable crew, even if Harrelson, Glover and Bettany are the only three who don’t play it safe. This is a Han Solo who wants to be loved even of he doesn’t want to be liked, and when he puts his arm around the immortal Chewie it’s tough not to go “aww.” But only a glimmer of the hardassed charmer that Harrison Ford immortalized finds its way into this episode. Howard and the Kasdans play the series game without ever raising the stakes, defaulting to dull and dutiful when they might have blasted off into creative anarchy.”

POPULAR ON VARIETY:

More Film

  • WGA West Logo

    Writers Guild Sends Hollywood Agents Proposed Code of Conduct

    Leaders of the Writers Guild of America have sent Hollywood talent agencies a proposed “Code of Conduct” with tough new restrictions on how they operate as agents for writer clients. The WGA made the disclosure Thursday night in an email to its 12,000 members, a day after announcing that it will hold a March 25 [...]

  • Best Score Nominee Alexandre Desplat Is

    Best Score Nominee Alexandre Desplat to Skip Oscar Ceremony

    Best score nominee Alexandre Desplat will be unable to attend Sunday’s Oscar ceremonies because of recent throat surgery, a rep for the composer confirms. The French native, already a two-time Oscar winner (for 2014’s “Grand Budapest Hotel” and 2017’s “The Shape of Water”), is nominated this year for his Japanese-flavored score for Wes Anderson’s “Isle [...]

  • Space Jam

    'Space Jam 2' Gets Summer 2021 Release Date

    Warner Bros. has set a July 16, 2021, date for its live-action/animated sports comedy “Space Jam 2,” starring LeBron James. Terence Nance, creator of the HBO show “Random Acts of Flyness,” is directing the sequel. His credits include “An Oversimplification of Her Beauty,” “Swimming in Your Skin Again,” and “Univitellin.” The movie marks James’ first [...]

  • Gwendoline Christie Star Wars Episode VIII

    Film News Roundup: Gwendoline Christie Joins Jason Segel-Dakota Johnson Drama 'The Friend'

    In today’s film news roundup, Gwendoline Christie is cast in “The Friend,” film preservationist Kevin Brownlow is honored, Demi Moore’s “Corporate Animals” gets sold, and BondIt Media Capital hires a CFO. CASTINGS “Game of Thrones” and “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” star Gwendoline Christie has joined the cast of “The Friend” starring Jason Segel, Dakota [...]

  • Heather Parry Live Nation

    Heather Parry Fired From Live Nation Productions

    Live Nation Entertainment announced Thursday that Heather Parry will leave the company following a Variety investigation into allegations of workplace bullying. Parry ran Live Nation Productions, the TV and film arm of the touring conglomerate, for three years. In December, Variety reported that Live Nation’s human resources department had been repeatedly warned that Parry was [...]

  • A still from Sea of Shadows

    Sundance Film Review: 'Sea of Shadows'

    It’s a decidedly grim circle of life that moves us all in “Sea of Shadows,” a tight, troubling documentary eco-thriller that charts a compelling course of consequence from Chinese black-market apothecaries to the near-extinction of a rare whale in the Sea of Cortez, hitting on Mexican crime cartels and institutional corruption along the way. Austrian [...]

  • Matt Smith, Thomasin McKenzie Circle Edgar

    Matt Smith, 'Leave No Trace' Star Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie Circle Edgar Wright Movie

    Matt Smith and “Leave No Trace” star Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie are in negotiations to join Edgar Wright’s next film, “Last Night in Soho,” sources tell Variety. Details are vague about the psychological horror movie, other than it being set in London’s Soho district. Anya Taylor Joy is also in the cast. Production is expected to [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content