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Solo: A Star Wars Story

Solo

After a bumpy start, Ron Howard’s prequel settles in and takes us on an entertaining enough ride. There’s one great actor in it. And it isn’t Alden Ehrenreich.

It’s not this promising young star’s fault if he feels more like Mark Hamill than Harrison Ford. But, at least to me, he does. And so, for most of the movie, I felt a little off, as if I was seeing Luke try to deliver Han’s sass. And sex appeal. And, although there are moments, Alden, you are no Harrison Ford.

And so we move on. There are delightful moments, my favorite being the extended introduction of Han and Chewbacca, one of the great big screen bromances since Louis and Rick began their beautiful friendship at the Casablanca airport. Howard keeps the action humming and Jon and Lawrence Kasdan have some fun adding a few newbies to this early story mix. Among those is a lovely Emilia Clarke, who serves as both a first love and big problem for Han, a dandy Donald Glover, slyly forming a wary alliance with Solo on his own, and a wonderful Linda Hunt, whose voice performance as Lady Proxima is so much fun, I want her to get her own movie.

But the only one who seems to not just remember but deliver the absolute joy and energy of the ‘70’s and ‘80’s Star Wars movies is a flat out terrific Woody Harrelson. Of course, he’s played characters like Tobias Beckett before and he could have just done what he had to do here, but almost quietly, note I said almost, he plays each line and each scene with a gleam that reminded me more of what Harrison Ford brought to those originals than did anybody else on this screen.

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