Is there such a thing as too much “Star Wars”? The answer for nearly every kid in America is a resounding “no,” and that’s good news for the folks at Lucasfilm.
Even so, “Solo: A Star Wars Story” represents something a bit risky. It is an origin story unconnected to the Skywalker clan and minus the high-stakes of "Rogue One," centered around a character (Han Solo) who is inextricably linked with the swaggering charmer who played him (Harrison Ford).
It was worth the risk. “Solo” is a tremendously entertaining romp, and young “Star Wars” fans are going to adore it. Their moms and dads will be pretty satisfied, too.
Are kids going to care about the early days of Han Solo?
Yes. The character has always resonated with wee “Star Wars” fans, and they’ll quickly buy actor Alden Ehrenreich as a youthful version of the Han they know and love.
It’s got excitement, humor, some clever call-backs (“Clone Wars” fans may levitate with pleasure during one particular late-film sequence), a strong female heroine (the Khaleesi herself, Emilia Clarke), a sassy droid, and lots of Lando capes. What else could one possibly want from a Han Solo origin story?
What’s the ideal viewing age? And what ages should avoid seeing this?
The film is rated PG-13 but children who have seen any other “Star Wars” film should be fine, so let’s say age 7 and up is ideal. The roughest moments come at the beginning, with a creepy, slug-like overlord and a rather grim introduction for a fan favorite. There is some mild language and the typical blaster violence, but nothing too worrying.
What's the running time on “Solo”?
It's a bit long at 2 hours and 15 minutes, but the action sequences are rollicking and the storyline absorbing. If this was the 1980s, the “Solo” VHS would be worn out from repeat viewings.
Should I be offended by the idea of another actor portraying the beloved pilot of the Millennium Falcon?
Absolutely not. Ehrenreich, the prodigiously talented and likable star of Francis Ford Coppola’s “Tetro” and the Coens’ “Hail, Caesar!” was an inspired choice to play Han Solo 10 years before the events of “A New Hope.”
And director Ron Howard’s “Solo: A Star Wars Story” provides a compelling backstory for the iconic character — his hardscrabble start on the streets, his first love, his encounter with a surly Wookie named Chewbacca, his involvement with Lando Calrissian and his descent into a criminal life.
Ehrenreich and Donald Glover, who plays young Lando, capture the seemingly effortless charisma Ford and Billy Dee Williams brought to the original trilogy. They honor the Solo and Calrissian that came before them.