James’s review published on Letterboxd:
Occasionally entertaining and entirely inconsequential, Solo: A Star Wars Story isn't a film, it isn't even a movie, it's a product, one that screams corporate more than any of the most recent Disney commissioned franchise extenders.
Star Wars fans are among the most demanding and passionate in movie history, the colossal success of George Lucas' B-movie sci-fi trilogy has spurred an unquenchable thirst for more, for every character's past to be fully explored in numerous spin-off adventures. Now that Disney have the rights to do so they aren't waiting a single moment longer to grant this wish to fans, whether they asked for it or not. Han Solo isn't a character I expected or wanted to see on the screen again, having already featured in four installments his backstory is not something I had much interest in.
Despite being unremarkably average in its storytelling and lackluster in its character development, this isn't the disaster some claimed it was shaping up to be. The cast are enough to carry the movie from set piece to set piece nicely, with Alden Ehrenreich surprisingly filling the daunting shoes of Harrison Ford with enough charisma and the right amount of cocky charm and Donald Glover nailing the role of young Lando perfectly. The grungy and rather dull lighting and set design clashes with the lighter tone, the potential for visual spectacle is significantly bogged down by this, though it does lend a certain realism to the whimsy.
It gets from point A to point B rather well, the trouble is we already knew going in what point B was. It doesn't provide a satisfactory reason for its existence other than fan service and profit, which it inevitably will achieve. If you're a Star Wars fan this might be the highlight of your year, for those with a lower investment it's an entirely forgettable popcorn heist movie with some shoehorned nods to films it assumes you've already seen.