“Solo: A Star Wars Story” (Disney)

Alden Ehrenreich plays Han Solo and Joonas Suotamo plays Chewbacca in a scene from the movie "Solo: A Star Wars Story." The Catholic News Service classification, A-III -- adults. (CNS/Disney)

By Catholic News Service

The origins and early adventures of future freebooter Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich) are explored in this pleasing but insubstantial addition to the blockbuster franchise. Indebted to one of the villainous chiefs (Paul Bettany) of the intergalactic crime syndicate that has ensnared his childhood sweetheart (Emilia Clarke), the skilled but boastful pilot joins with a cynical thief (Woody Harrelson) and the apelike creature (Joonas Suotamo) destined to become his sidekick and first mate, both of whom are also beholden to the gangster, in an against-the-odds scheme to purloin a stock of valuable fuel.

Working from a script by the father-and-son team of Lawrence and Jonathan Kasdan, director Ron Howard serves up action aplenty and some engaging plot twists while Ehrenreich exudes cheeky charisma. But depth of character is lacking. In keeping with his later persona, as portrayed by Harrison Ford, Solo’s rough-and-ready approach to property rights is offset by his weakness for a good cause, making this early chapter in his biography possibly acceptable for older teens.

Much stylized violence, occasional innuendo, a few mild oaths, a couple of crass terms. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III — adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 — parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

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