Critics Consensus

Solo Is the Lowest Rated Live-Action Star Wars Movie Since the Prequels

But it's still fast-paced and fun. Plus, season 5 of Arrested Development returns to form and Amazon's Picnic at Hanging Rock is a decent retelling of a classic mystery.

by | May 24, 2018 | Comments

This weekend at the movies, we have the origin story of the galaxy’s most charming smuggler (Solo: A Star Wars Story, starring Alden Ehrenreich and Emilia Clarke). What are the critics saying?


Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) 70%

Long before our current reboot-happy era of franchise-driven do-overs, Hollywood made a habit of recasting well-known roles. Love any popular character long enough, and the movie industry will eventually serve them up to you again with a different face — just ask any James Bond, Doctor Who, Superman, or Batman fan. Going the recast route is always a gamble, but some characters are far more inextricably intertwined with their actors than others, and after one person has played a part for a few decades, it can be awfully tough to imagine someone else taking over. Take Han Solo, for instance: the quick-shooting, quip-dispensing Corellian has been a popular fixture of the Star Wars franchise since its 1977 arrival, and every time we’ve seen him on the big screen, he’s been played by Harrison Ford. Until now, that is: when Lucasfilm decided to depict Han’s early years in a standalone anthology installment, the 75-year-old Ford was obviously not an option, so they handed the role to Alden Ehrenreich.

It was just the first in a series of risky moves surrounding the project, which got through a substantial chunk of its production with original directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller before the duo were surprisingly fired and replaced with Oscar winner (and longtime friend of Lucasfilm) Ron Howard. As time wore on, the odds that this movie stood any prayer of making a positive impact with critics — let alone one of the most passionate fanbases in film — seemed to go from “long” to “infinitesimal.” But as those fans are aware, Han himself wasn’t much for putting stock in the odds, which makes it somewhat fitting that Solo: A Star Wars Story has earned itself some fairly respectable reviews.

In the context of the Star Wars franchise, Solo can’t help but look like an underachiever, but given that we’re talking about a series that contains some of the most widely seen and best-loved movies of the last few decades, that’s no surprise. In fact, critics say this Star Wars Story contains fairly few surprises — but rather than pulling back the curtain on a bunch of hotly anticipated mysteries from Solo’s early years, it serves up a solidly entertaining space adventure sprinkled with a few bits of fan service for the faithful and enlivened by a well-chosen supporting cast (particularly Donald Glover as everyone’s favorite pansexual schemer, Lando Calrissian). It probably isn’t destined to be mentioned in the same breath as Empire Strikes Back, but on the whole, Solo looks like a decent first outing for this scruffy-looking nerf herder — and given the way studios operate these days, don’t be surprised if it ends up spawning a sequel or two of its own.


What’s New on TV

Arrested Development: Season 5 (2018) 55%

Arrested Development finds itself back in familiar form, recapturing much of the cast’s chemistry and comedic brilliance — though it still doesn’t quite live up to its own past.


Picnic at Hanging Rock: Miniseries (2018) 80%

Natalie Dormer charms in Picnic at Hanging Rock, a stylish retelling of an Australian classic — though convoluted sub-plots at times distract from its otherwise tantalizing delights.


Also Opening This Week In Limited Release

Tag Cloud

Action Mindy Kaling The Arrangement Martial Arts President Writers Guild of America diversity zombie blaxploitation harry potter TLC 71st Emmy Awards Fall TV Tumblr Amazon Prime Extras History Countdown Esquire casting Infographic festivals LGBT Mudbound dramedy Epix teaser cults Sundance binge vampires psychological thriller BBC America Lucasfilm Tomatazos Dark Horse Comics foreign Film Festival 21st Century Fox mutant theme song Acorn TV TCA Pop The Witch spider-man X-Men Super Bowl Arrowverse Schedule Grammys robots children's TV zero dark thirty IFC Films El Rey sitcom ghosts game of thrones SDCC tv talk First Look Thanksgiving MSNBC Tarantino Country DC Comics Cosplay period drama Trailer Television Academy Shudder BET Photos Sundance Now television Rocketman crime thriller sequel Nat Geo Year in Review Rom-Com OWN ABC kids adventure AMC Musical Sneak Peek Winners Valentine's Day San Diego Comic-Con politics Nickelodeon Calendar Chilling Adventures of Sabrina DC Universe discovery social media Walt Disney Pictures DGA 24 frames historical drama HBO Max Teen See It Skip It Ghostbusters Captain marvel Election psycho richard e. Grant BBC Showtime Netflix crossover 20th Century Fox Heroines Christmas CBS toy story Stephen King ratings spain south america Trophy Talk 2018 Masterpiece boxoffice Paramount Network Music transformers Biopics Holidays Starz WGN sports Mary poppins 007 science fiction Freeform Shondaland TIFF jamie lee curtis hispanic spy thriller NBC natural history Vudu Spectrum Originals Elton John cinemax YouTube Red facebook hist crime drama Reality serial killer TCM Awards disaster Comic Book Cartoon Network Mary Tyler Moore Toys singing competition Character Guide VH1 Quiz Star Trek MTV finale Family Superheroe award winner NYCC Summer witnail Hulu Women's History Month elevated horror aliens police drama ESPN YouTube Premium Amazon Lionsgate CW Seed Warner Bros. political drama zombies Comics on TV USA war Certified Fresh Ellie Kemper HBO strong female leads Star Wars LGBTQ Black Mirror E3 ABC Family Marvel RT21 Box Office Lifetime Red Carpet Syfy justice league MCU IFC Pirates CMT travel revenge Marathons Superheroes biography Awards Tour Musicals GLAAD TNT FX New York Comic Con dragons Ovation Polls and Games Podcast WarnerMedia TCA 2017 Animation adaptation TruTV Food Network Sony Pictures Rocky APB medical drama Fox News Fantasy E! thriller anthology Peacock Disney streaming service Mary Poppins Returns Chernobyl Disney Channel latino Watching Series 2019 series romance Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt FXX PBS First Reviews dceu 2017 Kids & Family Best and Worst movies Trivia crime Emmys Song of Ice and Fire Oscars USA Network Opinion what to watch Bravo DC streaming service spanish language 45 stand-up comedy dc Crackle cooking Winter TV based on movie Film cars Video Games Amazon Prime Video Adult Swim Western game show Interview Spring TV unscripted Spike Comedy Central green book SXSW Universal space DirecTV book docudrama video nature YA Comedy CBS All Access quibi Drama 2016 American Society of Cinematographers Set visit VICE streaming Columbia Pictures TV National Geographic talk show Nominations Binge Guide A&E 2015 comic Mystery technology Apple Cannes animated Horror spinoff PaleyFest doctor who Rock anime Pride Month Creative Arts Emmys The CW cats Disney Emmy Nominations SundanceTV composers Pixar Logo cops Reality Competition FOX Sci-Fi golden globes miniseries supernatural Anna Paquin TV Land RT History mockumentary true crime CNN Britbox GIFs GoT Premiere Dates Paramount ITV comiccon Brie Larson Pet Sematary TBS