*/**** Image A Sound B+ Extras A-
starring Alden Ehrenreich, Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Paul Bettany
written by Jonathan Kasdan & Lawrence Kasdan
directed by Ron Howard
by Walter Chaw SPOILER WARNING IN EFFECT. In Roger Ebert's reviews of the original Star Wars trilogy, he mentions that one of the wonders of this universe is that the droids are thinking, feeling, emotional beings, thus making their torture in Return of the Jedi a visceral thing. In Ron Howard's expediently-extruded Solo: A Star Wars Story (hereafter Solo), a sassy robot named L3-37, voiced by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, is fused into the Millennium Falcon spacecraft after being murdered in the middle of a slave and prisoner rebellion she's incited in another interchangeable industrial backwater. I mention this as a point of interest because L3 is the clumsy mouthpiece for broad progressive beliefs in a shockingly-bad script by father-son duo Lawrence and Jonathan Kasdan. When Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover) asks if there's anything else he can get her as he's leaving a room, she says, "Equal rights?" It's that kind of character. The kind usually workshopped out when the screenwriter--one of them, anyway--isn't the most powerful person in the room. She's Dobby the House Elf from a storyline smartly left out of the film adaptations of Harry Potter, screaming about "droid rights" during a droid Thunderdome sequence done better in everything (but particularly in A.I.), and there mainly I think so that replacement director Howard can slide his brother Clint into a self-satisfied cameo. So this character, liberating droids and releasing slaves and declaring that she's found her calling, is fused by a grieving Lando into his spaceship to spend the next eight or nine movies getting punched and abused by her new white masters whenever she doesn't work right away.