Solo: A Star Wars Story experienced some intense changes over the course of production, but it came out on the other end intact, according to the critics coming out of the premiere screening of the film in Los Angeles on Thursday night.
The first reactions to the second standalone Star Wars film has many calling Alden Ehrenreich, who plays a young Han Solo, “the real deal” with “swagger to match.”
“Alden Ehrenreich is super impressive as Han,” Yahoo’s Kevin Polowy tweeted.
“It takes a bit for it to find its feet and for [Ehrenreich] to turn on enough charm to make you forget he’s not [Harrison Ford],” IndieWire’s Kate Erbland noted. “But once it kicks into its hey-let’s-make-a-crew and yes-also-do-a-heist stuff, it totally flies.”
Solo: A Star Wars Story centers on a moment from Han Solo’s life before he became the intergalactic scoundrel-smuggler we know through Ford’s performance in the original Star Wars trilogy. On his heist travels, he meets future BFF Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo), a young Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover) and his droid counterpart L3 (Phoebe Waller-Bridge), old friend Qi’Ra (Emilia Clarke), and mentor Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson).
No surprise here: Glover’s turn as Lando was hailed as a “delightful,” “legit fantastic” standout.
Ron Howard directs the film, though he came on as a replacement to Phil Lord and Chris Miller. The 22 Jump Street and The LEGO Movie helmers parted ways with Lucasfilm over “creative differences” weeks before filming was supposed to end. While critics have yet to publish more in-depth reviews, this behind-the-scenes shake-up didn’t seem to register in the film.
The reactions weren’t all raves. Collider’s Perri Nemiroff was “was really hoping for higher stakes, more energy and depth,” while CinemaBlend’s Eric Eisenberg wrote it’s “slow to find its footing” with “the occasional prequel problem.”
Solo: A Star Wars Story opens in theaters on May 25. See more reactions below.