Smuggler's serenade: Ignore the rumors, 'Solo' is a thrilling adrenaline rush

"Solo: A Star Wars Story." (Lucasfilm)

"Solo: A Star Wars Story"
4 out of 5 stars
Ron Howard
Writers: Jonathan Kasdan, Lawrence Kasdan, George Lucas (characters)
Starring: Alden Ehrenreich, Donald Glover, Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke
Genre: Action, adventure, fantasy
Rated: PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi action/violence

SALT LAKE CITY (KUTV) - Synopsis: An origin tale for the scruffiest of smugglers.

Review: Slightly longer ago in a galaxy far, far away, Han Solo was nothing more than an ambitious street rat. Looking to swindle his way to the top, Han concocts a scam that, like many of Han's plans, fails to result in the intended outcome. Such is the life of the young man who will someday make the Kessel run in less than 12 parsecs.

I know what you've heard and some of it is true. "Solo" had a particularly difficult production that saw original directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller ousted in favor of veteran Ron Howard. Rumors circulated, some fans became nervous and others took it as a sign that producer Kathleen Kennedy wasn't going to let the origin story of one of the most beloved characters of all time fall short of the mark.

I don't know what a Lord and Miller Han Solo film would have looked like. However, I do know that Howard's take on Jonathan and Lawrence Kasdan's script is so enjoyable that you won't find me questioning Kennedy's decision.

Among those initial rumors was the idea that Alden Ehrenreich didn't have the chops to take on Harrison Ford's legacy. Ehrenreich wasn't pulled from obscurity. He had already impressed in a handful of performances including a scene-stealing turn in "Hail, Caesar!" Still, any actor is capable of being miscast and even the most revered actors have been in artistically bankrupt films.

Well, folks, Ehrenreich does just fine. There's a chance that you won't like his interpretation of the character, but it has nothing to do with his abilities as an actor. Certainly, Donald Glover's take on Lando Calrissian steals a few scenes, but the same could be said of Billy Dee Williams. Lando is a great character; it's only right that he gets the spotlight from time to time.

Emilia Clarke's performance as Qi'ras, a scoundrel who always outwits her male companions, is equally impressive. You can't help but hope that we'll be given the chance to learn more about her.

Early rumors coming out of the film's premiere suggested the film had a rocky beginning, but eventually found its stride. I didn't find the exposition to be all that clunky. In fact, the movie kicks off with an enjoyable action sequence that sets the tone for everything that follows. Yes, the deeper we get into the story the more interesting the tale becomes, but that's the nature of storytelling.

"Solo" is a fun ride that should even appease those bitter with the direction that was taken in "The Last Jedi." Then again, some people just want to hate a movie for the sake of being contrarian. You need only look at the audience's scores on Rotten Tomatoes and IMDB to find a gathering of people who haven't even watched "Solo" giving the film poor ratings. The actions of the few have essentially rendered audience scores as useless. Congratulations, you've trolled your way into obsoleteness. Who's scruffy looking now, you half-witted nerf-herders?

So, where does "Solo" stack against the post-Lucas releases? "Rogue One" is the best, "The Last Jedi" is the boldest (yes, I'm a fan) and "Solo" is the most enjoyable.

I can't wait to get back in the cockpit with Han and Chewbacca.