With early reviews for Solo: A Star Wars Story coming in, fans are keen to see how it compares to the other films in the franchise. It’s no secret the spinoff took a troubling path to the big screen, undergoing a drastic change behind-the-scenes in the midst of production. Original directors Phil Lord & Chris Miller were fired four months into filming due to creative differences, and Oscar-winner Ron Howard came in to see the project across the finish line. Under Howard’s leadership, Solo went through massive reshoots that tackled anywhere between 70 to 80 percent of the final product.
Because of these production difficulties (plus rumored concerns about star Alden Ehrenreich’s performance), some were worried about the film’s potential quality. Fortunately, those concerns were alleviated when the first wave of social media reactions came in following the world premiere last week. Then came the full written reviews, and while they aren’t overtly enthusiastic, they still paint a fairly positive picture. In fact, the latest TV spot for Solo incorporated pull quotes from critics.
As of this writing, Rotten Tomatoes has collected 115 Solo reviews, and the Tomatometer stands at 72 percent. While that is a solid reception, it ranks in the bottom half of the franchise. Here are the scores for the 10 live-action Star Wars movies so far:
The Empire Strikes Back – 95%
A New Hope – 93%
The Force Awakens – 93%
The Last Jedi – 91%
Rogue One – 85%
Return of the Jedi – 80%
Revenge of the Sith – 79%
Solo – 72%
Attack of the Clones – 66%
The Phantom Menace – 55%
It’s worth pointing out that Solo still has a long way to go before all its reviews are tabulated. The previous three Star Wars installments of the Disney era averaged a total of about 379 write-ups. That means there’s conceivably more than 200 Solo reviews coming in over the next week, so its current Rotten Tomatoes score could swing in one way or another depending on how things shake out. Since the consensus is Solo operates as an entertaining (if safe) adventure through the galaxy, it’s likely the score stays in the neighborhood of 72 percent, maybe even going up a few points. Films need to hit 75 percent on the Tomatometer to earn the famed Certified Fresh seal of approval.
Considering everything Solo went through just to be completed, this is arguably cause for celebration. We recently saw with Justice League the worst-case scenario for troubled productions, and it looks like Solo was able to avoid those pitfalls. It turning out as a solid, fun heist movie fueled by strong performances was perhaps the ceiling. As many reviewers have pointed out, as long as one goes into Solo with the right mindset (ie not expecting the traditional Star Wars epic space opera), there’s plenty of enjoyment to be had.