HAN Solo is one of the greatest characters in movie history.

First introduced in 1977 in the original Star Wars classic, ‘A New Hope,’ the hugely charismatic pilot was portrayed by the legendary Harrison Ford and wowed audiences with his wit, looks and charm.

And since this new set of Star Wars films has opted to release a stand-alone flick in between episodes, it felt right for them to do their very first origin story on this truly iconic character.

But expectations have never been this low for a Star Wars movie...

From the start, the production suffered significant delays, including the original directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (21 Jump Street & Lego Movie franchises) leaving halfway through due to "creative differences."

Veteran director, Ron Howard, (Apollo 13) was brought on board to finish the film.

There was also a real lack of excitement from fans, especially following the backlash The Last Jedi received just six months ago.

And, after all the fuss, Solo is absolutely fine. It’s good, not great, but when you consider the production turmoil the movie had, you could actually class this as a triumph.

The sad truth is that, whilst Solo delivers all the fun summer blockbuster entertainment you expect, it falls short of living up to the usual expectations we set upon a new Star Wars release.

My biggest worry going in was the casting decision of Solo himself.

Alden Ehrenreich was cast in the lead and initially he looked like the perfect choice, coming off the back of a scene-stealing performance in Hail, Caesar!

Yet news then broke of Lucasfilm hiring an acting coach for him, and the trailers didn't do much to convince people either.

Thankfully, he's more than up to the task.

He adds a fresh spin to the character but still hits the essential mannerisms and one-liners to feel like we are watching a younger Harrison Ford in action.

Ehrenreich nicely balances that Han has an arrogance and ego yet would do anything to save the people around him.

One element the film nailed perfectly, is the relationship between Han Solo and Chewbacca.

From Chewie’s brilliant introduction to the love they share in the film’s final moments, their bond and friendship is a delight throughout.

The supporting cast varies in quality. Woody Harrelson is at his typical best, but I couldn’t help but feel that his connection with Han was under developed.

Emilia Clarke struggles her way through proceedings, while Thandie Newton and Jon Favreau are welcomed additions but frustratingly underused.

Underused is also the term I would use for Lando, who is portrayed flawlessly by the always brilliant Donald Glover.

Lando is an energetic, insanely cool pleasure throughout but I was disappointed by his lack of screen time.

As soon as he enters midday through, the film goes up a gear and Glover balances the camp but cool style of the character with ease.

The films biggest problem lies with the genuine lack of stakes. It never once really has you on the edge of your seat, building unwarranted tension as you see characters you know are going to live (due to their existence in the original films) try and survive on “the brink of death.”

The previous standalone entry, Rogue One, ties up a 30 year plot hole, delivering a great entry in the franchise which beautifully links to Episode 4.

But this doesn’t bring anything new to the table. It's a solid tale of Han’s origin but doesn't answers fans' questions.

But Solo still manages to get a lot of things right.

For starters, it has beautiful cinematography and striking visual effects work. We also finally see this Galaxy of far, far away from a different perspective.

With the plot not revolving around the Empire (usually essential to a Star Wars plot) it was fun to see this world experienced in a new light, with a warzone scene in particular being a thrilling standout moment.

The action in general is always enjoyable and well shot.

Credit to Ron Howard, stepping in during production and making this feel coherent.

Howard’s directing is stylish and fast-paced, and you can tell he has a good understanding of the Star Wars universe.

Overall, within the Star Wars franchise, this movie is sub-par, but it's harmless summer popcorn fun and you can do a whole lot worse.

Verdict: Solo and Chewie shine in this entertaining Star Wars origin story, but it lacks the magic of the episodes and any kind of stakes to make this anything more than passable entertainment.

Best Moment: The Kessel Run

Rating: 7/10