‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’ never gets off the ground, but don’t blame Alden Ehrenreich

Every so often in “Solo: A Star Wars Story” — and the last word of that title is awfully generous — a character will make brief, ominous reference to the inevitable rise of the Empire. While it remains largely off-screen here, that evil galactic monolith is quietly in the ascendant. Alliances are being drawn, key players are shifting into position, and soon it will fall to everyone — even those thieves, mercenaries and other freelance operatives accustomed to working in the shadows — to decide who and what they really stand for.

Except, of course, for Han Solo, who, as played by Alden Ehrenreich in this prequel to the original “Star Wars” trilogy, is still many years away from joining forces with Luke, Leia and the Rebel Alliance, much less inheriting the genial wisecrackery and stiffly smoldering presence of Harrison Ford. One of the few new things we actually learn about this perennial fan favorite in his first headlining vehicle is how he came by his surname, a detail I won’t spoil. (You take your pleasures where you can get them in this movie.) Suffice to say that the word “Solo” underscores Han’s status as a plucky rogue operator, a man with zero political allegiances, someone who cares less about which side wins or loses than about his own survival.

There was every reason to believe, in other words, that a stand-alone “Solo” movie — apologies if that was redundant — might prove to be not just a pleasantly zippy diversion but also a welcome, even meaningful display of independent thinking. The initial hiring of directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller, the merry comic anarchists behind “The Lego Movie” and “21 Jump Street,” was an auspicious sign. It would be nice to report that, in the ever more sprawling “Star Wars” cinematic universe, this one-off had turned out to be a charming, irreverent outlier, operating by its own rules and risks and thumbing its nose at anyone who objected.

Thumb your nose at the Empire that is Lucasfilm, however, and you might get vaporized, or at the very least be forced to fall in line. As everyone by now knows, Lord and Miller were fired in 2017 (their names remain in an executive-producer capacity) and replaced by Ron Howard, a director who tends to approach even his untroubled productions with a fixer’s stay-out-of-the-way attitude. He and his collaborators (including screenwriters Jonathan and Lawrence Kasdan) have cobbled together a high-speed, low-energy intergalactic heist movie, an opportunity to spend too much time with people you don’t care about and too little time with people you do.

Alden Ehrenreich, left, is Han Solo and Joonas Suotamo is Chewbacca in
Alden Ehrenreich, left, is Han Solo and Joonas Suotamo is Chewbacca in “Solo:…
Sasha Harriet

Sasha Harriet

As content editor, I get to do what I love everyday. Tweet, share and promote the best content our tools find on a daily basis.

I have a crazy passion for #music, #celebrity #news & #fashion! I'm always out and about on Twitter.
Sasha Harriet

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