A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Iffier messages like "don't trust anyone" and "do whatever it takes to survive" are balanced out by messages promoting equal rights for all creatures -- including androids -- and the importance of teamwork, communication, courage, solidarity, and friendship. Also explores how morally ambiguous characters still have a choice to make when it comes to whether they'll do what's right -- even if it puts them in harm's way -- or what's easy, even if it's wrong.
Positive Role Models
Noticeably diverse cast, with many female characters, people of color, and creatures who have distinct backgrounds and ideas. Han is loyal and brave, if not always morally right. Chewbacca sticks by Han even when it endangers his life. Qi'ra is smarter and more of a survivor than people initially think. Beckett and his crew are smugglers but also abide by their own codes. Lando thinks mostly of himself but is willing to go along with plans that help others; he cares deeply about his navigation droid, L3-37. And L3 is an outspoken advocate for android rights.
Violence & Scariness
Lots of sci-fi action violence, both large-scale (warfare between Empire forces and those they seek to conquer) and small (close-range executions, shoot-outs, decapitation, one-on-one duels, a few three-on-one or two-on-one fights). Overall, not much blood. Chases, crashes, and frequent peril. A character is thrown in a confined space with a "beast" and is supposed to be tortured but ends up communicating with his torturer. A man is willing to kill anyone and everyone who crosses him. Spoiler alert: More than one supporting character is killed, both human and nonhuman.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Several kisses and embraces. One main character is very flirtatious.
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One cut-off exclamation of "oh, sh--!" plus "hell" and "damn." Insults such as "presumptuous ass," "scum rat," etc.
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Products & Purchases
On camera, nothing, but off camera, the Star Wars franchise is a merchandiser's dream, with branded/themed apparel, games, accessories, housewares, action figures, Lego sets, toys, and just about anything else you can imagine.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A few scenes take place in pubs where characters drink and gamble. A captain drinks from a flask during a battle.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Solo: A Star Wars Story is a stand-alone adventure about a young Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich) that takes place several years before he teams up with Luke and Leia in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. The movie reveals details about the infamous smuggler's past -- like how he became the captain of the Millennium Falcon and how he met legendary characters like Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo) and Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover). Expect lots of peril, chases, and action violence, including scenes of large-scale ground warfare as well as executions, shoot-outs, and torture. While there's not much blood overall, characters do die. There's also a bit of language, some drinking in pubs, and innuendo (plus more kissing than is typical for a Star Wars film). Han definitely isn't always first in line to make the morally right choice, but ultimately the movie has messages about equal rights for all creatures and the importance of teamwork, communication, courage, and friendship. And the cast is noticeably diverse, with many female characters, people of color, and creatures who have distinct backgrounds and ideas. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Director Ron Howard's slick, funny prequel offers a respectable lead performance that captures Harrison Ford's smirky, roguish charisma and fills in several Star Wars gaps. While purists may never be fully satisfied with any prequel that revisits beloved original characters (some Potterheads feel the same way about Fantastic Beasts, for example), Ehrenreich deserves props for rising above pure imitation. He and Glover make their legendary characters their own, even if audiences must suspend disbelief a bit that either man could have changed quite that much in just 10 or so years. Both are amusingly arrogant and self-possessed -- and, in Han's case, also vulnerable. Yes, it's compelling to explore how Han hooked up with Chewie and Lando, but it's even more interesting to uncover the particulars of Han's background, his introduction to smuggling, and his first (ultimately doomed) love story.
Solo, like most spin-offs, isn't strictly necessary, but it's still massively entertaining when it gets things right. A couple of key moments will definitely make fans cheer (mostly having to do with the Millennium Falcon). There are several well-performed supporting roles, especially among the women. Clarke, who's best known as the Mother of Dragons on Game of Thrones, is great as Han's often underestimated partner in crime. Newton is extremely effective in her small but pivotal role (with a deadly stare familiar to those who've seen her in Westworld or Line of Duty). And British comedian/TV writer Phoebe Waller-Bridge (who sounds a lot like Tilda Swinton) is hilarious as outspoken android rights' activist L3-37. Bettany is fantastically creepy as a chilling mob boss who just wants to get paid, and Harrelson adds his signature, laid-back style to the proceedings as Han's roguish mentor. By the end, audiences will feel even more intensely for Han Solo, knowing more about his victories and losses as a younger man.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.