Entertaining ‘Solo’ better than you’ve heard

“Solo: A Star Wars Story” is getting a bad rap, from haters who demand perfection and from box office pundits who think an 85 million dollar domestic opening weekend is a major disappointment.

But, you won’t hear such nonsense from me. It’s an entertaining, smile inducing, energetic ride into the formation of an iconic Star Wars character and those around him.

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From the opening sequence, new creatures appear, the dragon queen arrives as Qi’ra (Emelia Clarke) with a brash, fast-talking Han Solo, played well by Alden Ehrenreich.

The couple are torn apart, Solo is thrown into a death cell and there he meets and confronts his future furry buddy in space crime, Chewbacca. It’s the relationship between Chewy and Han that makes “Solo” much more watchable, knowing together they will eventually do great things.

But for now, it’s a matter of staying alive, discovering the Millennium Falcon, reuniting with Qi’ra, and meeting the charismatic, Lando Calrissian for the first time, played perfectly by Donald Glover.

Throw in a visually magnificent train robbery, a scarface villain with a space traveling yacht played by Paul Bettany, and a shady bandit played by Woody Harrelson, and you have a mash up of characters and style that is meant more to entertain than to enlighten.

Filmmaker Ron Howard (A Beautiful Mind, Apollo 13) stepped in to command this expensive offshoot when the original directors disembarked before the film was finished, and it’s an admirable effort from an Oscar winning director.

Is this the greatest of the “Star Wars” films? No, it rests comfortably in the middle, but soars as entertainment pure and simple. I found myself smiling most of the two hours running time and never once felt like I had to forgive or forget what I was watching.

Movie theaters are currently crowded with worthy films to see, “Avengers: Infinity War,” “Deadpool 2,” “A Quiet Place,” so let’s back off the hating since it takes time to make the rounds. I could care less how much a movie makes on opening weekend, a good movie is a good movie.

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And yes, I’ll see “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” again soon, because it’s a good film.

Gary Cogill is an Emmy award-winning film critic, speaker and film producer. His wife, Hayely Hamilton Cogill, is a Sommelier, wine writer, and educator. Together they host “Cogill Wine And Film, A Perfect Pairing” podcast on reVolverPodcasts.com while living on Hawaii Island in Kamuela. Follow Gary on Twitter @GaryCogill.