He had imagined the departure differently: Young Han (Alden Ehrenreich) and his girlfriend Qi’ra (Emilia Clarke) want to leave the precarious life on the planet Corellia behind and set off for a glorious future as a pilot. But the plan goes wrong: the woman is caught and Han escapes. Because he doesn’t have a last name and travels alone, the customs officer enters the suffix “Solo” in his documents – this is how his name was born.

But the hero isn’t complete yet: As the film progresses, Han Solo gets to know his companion Chewbacca and acquires the legendary Millennium Falcon.

The actual story begins three years after the escape. Han Solo has burned out and joins the privateer Beckett (Woody Harrelson), with whom he plans a raid. However, it goes wrong and now the two of them are in debt to Dryden Vos (Paul Bettany), a very rich villain in the best James Bond tradition.

Dryden gives them one last chance: they must undertake a daring raid for him. He assigns an employee to supervise them – Solo’s childhood sweetheart Qi’ra, who is now in the villain’s service. Solo is hoping for a love comeback.

“Solo: A Star Wars Story” is a fast-paced, straightforward action film that surprises with some nice plot twists at the end. It dispenses with all esoteric Jedi baggage; this film simply wants to entertain without distracting with too much depth. The plan is working.

The 2017 production didn’t have a good star: the originally hired directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller were fired due to differences of opinion while filming was still taking place. Ron Howard (“A Beautiful Mind”) stepped in at short notice. A solid craftsman who stands for risk-free mainstream flicks without any trace of genius. This makes him pretty much the opposite of the non-conformist Han Solo – and anything but a dream choice for directing.

It’s obvious that his film ultimately doesn’t do justice to the last live rock’n’roller in the galaxy. A little more cheek, a little more madness would have been good for the whole thing. It’s not Alden Ehrenreich’s fault, whose eyes always flash with Harrison Ford’s familiar mischief.

Nevertheless: If you are looking for two hours of good cinema entertainment, this is the right place for you. And for die-hard “Star Wars” fans, “Solo” is a must anyway – it closes another gap in the space saga. “I’m going to be a pilot. The best in the galaxy,” the young Han Solo says at one point. The viewer knows: he should be right.

“Solo: A Star Wars Story” will air on Sunday, January 14, 2024, at 8:15 p.m. on ProSieben