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) 56%

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) 79%

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

2019 The CW 71st Emmy Awards The Purge Winter TV Hallmark Christmas movies sequel singing competition Cannes festivals Amazon Prime Video docudrama Trivia Teen American Society of Cinematographers 2016 Apple TV+ Summer Black Mirror Martial Arts revenge Lifetime Christmas movies green book LGBTQ Disney Channel Amazon Apple slashers Marvel Studios Marathons spain Photos dogs comics quibi Emmy Nominations book BBC Sundance Now Nat Geo reboot Rocky renewed TV shows richard e. Grant Mystery sag awards 2017 independent space golden globes CMT 007 Action joker Red Carpet Tubi crime tv talk cancelled TV shows screen actors guild DirecTV Musical streaming Calendar AMC Quiz HBO cats Mary poppins dragons cars Best and Worst ABC Family talk show Drama Walt Disney Pictures El Rey Nominations PaleyFest children's TV Mary Tyler Moore Elton John technology New York Comic Con politics theme song Women's History Month FX casting Election spy thriller science fiction binge 45 Biopics President Bravo MCU Toys Netflix Christmas movies Musicals Baby Yoda Starz indie YouTube Premium Sundance TV Pet Sematary Star Trek biography Trophy Talk ITV Sneak Peek versus dceu Sony Pictures DC streaming service Pride Month Western Discovery Channel Mudbound GLAAD spider-man Crackle Paramount Disney NBC Trailer Acorn TV anthology TV Land Brie Larson Food Network 2015 medical drama harry potter video TV crossover animated Peacock USA Awards canceled TV shows supernatural 2020 Disney+ Disney Plus based on movie Comedy blockbuster Super Bowl doctor who Disney streaming service Lifetime Pop Superheroes spinoff Rock CNN Holiday TruTV teaser zombie SDCC FXX period drama Certified Fresh Columbia Pictures Sci-Fi christmas movies YouTube Tarantino Captain marvel DC Comics Film spanish language Character Guide VICE ABC The Witch crime thriller IFC Amazon Studios 20th Century Fox RT21 Sundance ratings BBC America hist Country 21st Century Fox Amazon Prime GIFs sitcom Opinion WGN Ellie Kemper Anna Paquin Fantasy Marvel Television OneApp ESPN Vudu Reality Ovation Awards Tour Cosplay First Reviews Spike DGA Shondaland television Classic Film Year in Review discovery TCM Tumblr Lionsgate Box Office VH1 Comedy Central TCA NYCC mutant Valentine's Day comic name the review Music cartoon Crunchyroll Rocketman Spectrum Originals Esquire A&E Warner Bros. strong female leads psychological thriller latino GoT HBO Max police drama Podcast adventure aliens E! Stephen King MTV Syfy cults boxoffice CBS award winner directors Watching Series TBS Winners Chilling Adventures of Sabrina See It Skip It Creative Arts Emmys TCA Winter 2020 rotten movies we love ghosts transformers mockumentary Chernobyl natural history witnail historical drama Cartoon Network DC Universe Family Kids & Family Marvel series kids breaking bad canceled TIFF FOX A24 Showtime MSNBC Heroines stand-up comedy cancelled TV series Premiere Dates diversity RT History cooking Oscars nature Grammys SundanceTV X-Men Avengers Hulu toy story CW Seed true crime Shudder Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt miniseries psycho anime Turner justice league PBS Hallmark Reality Competition Adult Swim OWN Nickelodeon cancelled television Netflix Superheroe Freeform Apple TV Plus Britbox blaxploitation Polls and Games political drama Extras Pixar USA Network cinemax Universal robots Paramount Network YA Infographic finale Epix jamie lee curtis Comics on TV BET TV renewals History Mindy Kaling travel Tomatazos Countdown Film Festival movie Fox News romantic comedy Binge Guide TLC crime drama Disney Plus Arrowverse Mary Poppins Returns romance APB LGBT IFC Films screenings Video Games Thanksgiving adaptation Interview Television Academy The Arrangement unscripted CBS All Access Comic Book dramedy Emmys Academy Awards batman zombies game show serial killer Writers Guild of America foreign National Geographic what to watch First Look WarnerMedia sports Logo comiccon dc south america Lucasfilm Masterpiece Animation TNT Fall TV social media SXSW YouTube Red cancelled The Walking Dead facebook zero dark thirty E3 game of thrones disaster halloween Turner Classic Movies war cops Holidays San Diego Comic-Con Song of Ice and Fire werewolf Horror Ghostbusters Christmas 24 frames Set visit composers Endgame 2018 Pirates Rom-Com Schedule vampires Dark Horse Comics thriller hispanic TCA 2017 free movies movies documentary Star Wars elevated horror Spring TV