NOTE: Last updated May 24, 2018
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 197 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%
Solo still has a ways to go before all its reviews are collected, seeing that the previous three Star Wars installments of the Disney era averaged about 379. It's possible that the score fluctuates as more come in, but it'll probably stay in this neighborhood (i.e. a 70 - 73 percent range). Odds are, Solo will be the first live-action Star Wars movie to not receive the Certified Fresh seal of approval since 2002's Attack of the Clones, ending the franchise's streak at four. Films need to hit at least 75 percent on the Tomatometer to get there, so Solo's score has to increase by three whole percentage points, and that's quite a jump.
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.
Source: Rotten Tomatoes
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019