SOLO Review — Is "Good" Enough?

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SOLO Review by Lisa Johnson Mandell

Solo reviewSolo: A Star Wars Story is a rousing space cowboy yarn with a lot of action, fun special effects, a little romance, a few laughs and some tricky plot twists. But wait a minute! Since this is a Star Wars film, shouldn’t I be writing in superlatives? Shouldn’t I be gushing and glowing over it? Is meeting but not exceeding expectations enough from this franchise?

Oh I dare say movie goers will be entertained in this prequel telling of how Han Solo got his groove. Everyone has been dying to see whether Alden Ehrenreich can toe the line as a young Harrison Ford in the title role, and how the Mother of Dragons (Emilia Clarke) fairs without her scaly offspring. They both play their parts admirably and charmingly, and I’m looking forward to seeing them in a sequel. But please, oh please, make me wait several years.

It’s also fun to watch current “it” guy Donald Glover play a young Lando Calrissian (a bit foppish for my taste) and Woody Harrelson as a sort of Solo mentor named Beckett, although, especially after War for the Planet of the Apes and the Hunger Games series, I’m thinking perhaps Harrelson is being a little over used as the crusty authority flaunter.

And I’m thinking also it’s worth the price of admission alone just to see when Han met Chewie—That’s definitely one of the film’s highlights. I think director Ron Howard, who came on board to right the ship for previous directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller, used just the right touch on that.

But speaking of highlights, Solo needs more—literally. The film’s chief color palette; grays, browns, blacks and blues, make it a bit difficult to discern. I kept waiting for them to arrive in Oz, when everything would finally be projected in living color.

Perhaps I’m suffering from Star Wars burnout. After all, Disney has been churning them out every year since it revived the franchise in 2015, and it’s only been five months since The Last Jedi hit a theater near you.  I think this is a bit of overkill—I used to relish the agony of anticipation, and I’m old enough to remember it. A really great Star Wars movie is worth the wait, but Solo will do in the meantime.

Rated PG-13

2 Hours 15 Minutes

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SOLO Review by Lisa Johnson Mandell



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Lisa Johnson Mandell

Lisa Johnson Mandell

Lisa Johnson Mandell is an award winning journalist, author and film/TV critic. She can be heard regularly on Cumulus radio stations throughout the US, and on BBC Radio.

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