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Solo: A Star Wars Story - four more posters land

Solo: A Star Wars Story - four more posters land

Like 2016's "Rogue One", "Solo" is a prequel that sets up "Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope".

Granted, there was about only 15 minutes left in the movie, but it felt like an eternity.

The more you remember from the original movies, the more ingenious this maneuver is: spinning the sow's ear of Lucas's casually racist outer-space evocations into a silk purse of 21st-century populism, complete with shout-outs to anticolonial freedom struggles and against arms trafficking. It lacks any of the classical purity we have come to expect from Star Wars, instead dangling tales that will be presumably delivered upon in sequels. This is particularly true in the third act of the movie.

As rendered by the moodily attractive Alden Ehrenreich, who could have played a young Henry Hill in "Goodfellas", this Solo bears only a glancing resemblance to the gruff, irreverent flyboy whom Ford portrayed so winningly.

But the movie crumbles following Han and the gang's thrilling completion of the legendary Kessel Run. Even as we start to see the vestiges of who Han Solo will become pile up-each one done for maximum audience cheers-the script by Lawrence and Jonathan Kasdan gives us twists to the plot that feel like a proper heist movie. The worst piece is the use of the words "mean streets" in describing the planet Solo grew up on.

Han's former girlfriend Qi'ra resurfaces and joins the team, but her story is complicated and her loyalties are divided. Some fans may blame Mr. Howard for this, and fantasize about what might have been if Christopher Miller and Phil Lord, the "Lego Movie" auteurs originally hired to direct, had been allowed to see the project through.

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The story is not awful but it also isn't great. Director of Photography Bradford Young explained what the film is abou, and added that the film had to look "natural". In fact, the movie seems perfectly created to win back those who were upset by the visionary The Last Jedi's devastatingtwists and turns. Lando has a sidekick too, a droid called L3, voiced by a scene-stealing Phoebe Waller-Bridge.

Poor Ehrenreich has been set up to fail by being given an impossible task: to make us forget about Harrison Ford, easily the most iconic action hero in modern cinema. This is how Solo was before the galaxy chewed up all the youthful optimism he had about life and spit him back out. (Imagine if Casino Royale hadn't quite seen the evolution of James Bond all the way through to its bitter end.) Its story holds precious few surprises and the title character ends this film as pretty much the same person he was when we met him at the beginning - without quite becoming the person Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi found and pulled out of a wretched hive of scum and villainy on Tatooine. In teasing a potential villain path for Han's love interest in the movie, Qi'ra (Emilia Clarke), they bring back a character from the "Star Wars" saga that is a fan favorite, but is a weird choice to be included in this story.

Like all "Star Wars" movies, there will be those who will absolutely love this movie, and there are certainly things to enjoy about it. The characters are often similarly uninspired, despite the likes of Paul Bettany, Woody Harrelson and Thandie Newton doing their best with clunky, cliched dialogue.

To be sure, "Solo" doesn't break new boundaries like "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" did, but at the same time, it's far less likely to raise the ire of hardcore fans. "Solo: A Star Wars Story" will surely make off with plenty of that loot, even if the movie requires considerable time to take flight, recovering from a messy, flat opening half before rallying and picking up speed down the stretch.

Fortune has reached out to Lucasfilm for further comment and confirmation.