Fresh from its European debut at Cannes, the first reviews for Solo: A Star Wars Story are in and the verdict is that it is good, but not great. The main cast and director Ron Howard walked the red carpet into the Palais des Festivals past an honour guard of Star Wars stormtroopers.
The 31-year-old actress swaps Westeros for a galaxy far, far away to play mysterious femme fatale Qi'ra in the Star Wars spin-off. Solo introduces canonical characters as improbably younger selves, making for a surreal remake-as-prequel: Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich) and Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover) perform not just as established action figures, but as sly riffs on Harrison Ford and Billy Dee Williams's performances in The Empire Strikes Back.
Glover had already enjoyed a great start to the week after topping the U.S. charts as rapper alter-ego Childish Gambino.
"Solo: A Star Wars Story" can be seen by the rest of the fans when it finally opens in theaters everywhere on May 25. Droids have always lived in a grey area in the Star Wars universe (are they robots, or are they sentient beings enslaved by other species?), and L3-37 is a blast playing in that grey area. Bigger, louder, and more, more, more seem to be the guiding principles of the film and while on their own they might make a pleasurable romp, it's dubious as to whether or not these pre-Skywalker adventures have really added anything of value to the character.
The Rotten Tomatoes tomatometer now has Solo sitting at a good, not great, 72%, a number that's expected to change as we get closer to the release date. Or to watch Han tell Chewbacca that Chewbacca needs a shorter nickname. These aren't necessarily criticisms, but explain why it takes a hot minute to recognize that you are, in fact, watching a Star Wars film. He falls in with Captain Beckett (Woody Harrelson) and Val (Thandie Newton), identifying them as fellow mercenaries and - after a meet-far-from-cute with a certain hairball named Chewbacca - sets of to hijack a trainload of coaxium. Then, after decades of shitting on Han Solo, Ford returns in The Force Awakens and seemed to be having a great time, other than for that whole broken leg part.
After the Götterdämmerung-like pomp and sweep of The Last Jedi, Solo, the latest entry in the Lucasfilm franchise, brings Star Wars back to earth with a Millennium Falcon-rattling bump. Glover captures the duplicity and bravado of the best-dressed rogue in the franchise, while also revealing a surprisingly tender side at one key point in the film. Glover fares nearly as well, and while he does occasionally lapse into doing a Billy Dee Williams impression, for the most part he conveys the effortless cool of Lando and how his controlled confidence clashes with Han's constant improvisation. At the very least, now we know who gave Han and Chewie the idea to seek out that big-talking crime boss on Tatooine, and Han's eagerness to get to the next step in his adventure is both thrilling and believable. The grouchy but somehow sexy curmudgeon that Harrison Ford created in the 1977 film and its sequels is shown here as a young man, living by his wits on Corellia, a planet where young people are routinely thrown into lives of Dickensian poverty and exploitation. Anticipation is mounting and this is more evidence of Star Wars fans everywhere getting antsy to see how well put together this movie is. These characters have become synonymous with pop culture around the world.
Young Han is scrappy and overconfident and makes things up as he goes along, unafraid to lie or trust his gut.