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The critics cast their verdict on SOLO: A Star Wars Story

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SOLO: A Star Wars Story last night held its Cannes Film Festival premiere, and the first critical reviews are in. So what's the reaction to director Ron Howard's Star Wars adventure?

Empire praises lead actor Alden Ehrenreich who pulls off a tricky balancing act with his young Harrison Ford impression: "A bright and breezy sideshow adventure makes up for its overly frantic pacing with a charismatic central turn from Alden Ehrenreich — strong enough to make us want to see even more of him in Solo mode."

The Hollywood Reporter follows suit in praising Ehrenreich's performance: "Despite the intermittent lags, the production proves to be more than a salvage operation thanks mainly to those engagingly choreographed performances, led by an irresistibly charismatic title turn from Alden Ehrenreich who ultimately claims Solo as his own even if he doesn’t entirely manage to convince us he’s Harrison Ford." They also reserve praise for the "wildly magnetic" Donald Glover (aka 'This is America' musician Childish Gambino) as Lando Calrissian.

Variety praises not just the lead actors but also the story's heist movie structure: "Though burdened with a slow start and enough thirsty fan-service to power Comic-Con’s Hall H for a decade, it has a kicky, kinetic heist movie at its heart, and its action sequences are machine-tooled spectacles of the first order. Its performances, starting with Alden Ehrenreich as the young Han Solo and extending to the film-stealing Donald Glover as his wily frenemy Lando Calrissian, are consistently entertaining. And thanks to cinematographer Bradford Young, SOLO allows for moments of real grit and something approaching interstellar realism amid all of the expectedly topnotch VFX."


"It... expands and enriches the Star Wars galaxy with thrilling new texture and detail," raves Robbie Collin in The Telegraph. "SOLO might be a fun adventure, but it’s a dream come true for cosplayers, and features an even-more-extraordinary-than-usual new range of costumes and knick-knacks to goggle at. (Lando’s capes alone could see a dedicated fan through around 30 conventions.)"

Writing in The Guardian, Peter Bradshaw praises the way the movie embraces classic Star Wars iconography: "SOLO: A Star Wars Story moreover has a glorious origin myth meet-cute to set up one of cinema’s greatest bromances: the stoic Wookiee Chewbacca and the insolently handsome freebooting rebel pilot Han Solo – and Alden Ehrenreich absolutely crushes the role to powder, swaggeringly reviving the memory of the young Harrison Ford’s romantic gallantry. And there’s another meet-cute, come to think of it: the love that flowers between man and machine, between the reckless pilot and the sleekly iconic Millennium Falcon."


Conversely, other critics, including Rolling Stone's Peter Travers, say the movie perhaps doesn't rock the spaceship enough. Travers argues: "Howard and the Kasdans play the series game without ever raising the stakes, defaulting to dull and dutiful when they might have blasted off into creative anarchy."

And The Wrap's Alfonso Duralde agrees: "Screenwriters Jonathan Kasdan and Lawrence Kasdan clearly relish the opportunity to write dialogue for swashbuckling renegades, but they’re also stuck doing a lot of retrofitting that goes nowhere. We don’t learn much about Han Solo’s background that fleshes out or deepens his character, but we sure do learn who gave him his last name."

We'll end with this from none other than The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson, who's praised the movie as an across-the-board success: "The movie was great, that’s the important thing. Donald Glover is great in it but duh. Alden is terrific, he’s not doing a Harrison Ford impersonation but he brings his own charm and swagger to the character. The big surprise for me was Phoebe Waller-Bridge who has a few of the funniest moments I’ve ever seen in a Star Wars movie… The action scenes are great too… it’s super fun." 

It's not too long before you Cineworlders get to post your reactions to the latest Star Wars movie. Click here to book your tickets for SOLO: A Star Wars Story, opening on 24th May, and be sure to tweet us your responses @Cineworld.