Solo: A Star Wars Story 1.0 stars

Solo: A Star Wars Story movie poster

There was, of course, no need for this story to be told. Some might even argue that there was a need for it not to be told, so that some shred of mystery could be preserved in a franchise that devoted three films to unveiling a Dark Father as a sad kid/mopey teen/angry young man. But Disney is in it for the money, Princess, so here it is: where he got the name, when he got the blaster, how he won the Millennium Falcon. Happily, young Solo is no Ani; he’s a cocky Oliver Twist, already working the angles and making plans to break out. Everyone involved seems to know exactly what’s expected of them, and everyone delivers, especially Woody Harrelson as Han’s reluctant mentor Beckett and Donald Glover as smarmy smooth operator Lando. Even star Alden Ehrenreich’s take on “juvenile Harrison Ford” has its virtues, especially in the vocal department, but it doesn’t matter much, because the movie is having too much zip-zoomy fun for you to pause and consider the matter. For the first half, that is. Han the master escape artist still has something to learn here, and can only watch helplessly as the gravity of the Star Wars children’s crusade overwhelms him, and the wondrous fun run gives way to a joyless slog that actually undermines the heroism of A New Hope even as it seeks to foreshadow it. Small wonder that the man Young Skywalker finds drinking in Mos Eisley is a faithless cynic. Directed by Ron Howard. 2018.

Matthew Lickona

This movie is not currently in theaters.

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