Sandy Kenyon reviews "Solo: A Star Wars Story"

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Sandy Kenyon reports on "Solo: A Star Wars Story." (Jonathan Olley/Lucasfilm via AP)

"Solo: A Star Wars Story" follows in the spirit of a movie I really liked: "Rogue One," as both films explain and amplify the main saga.

These are fan favorites because they answer questions raised by a franchise over the course of more than 40 years.

The guy playing the young Han Solo is not going to make anyone forget Harrison Ford, and really, who could?

Following in the footsteps of an icon is a thankless task, but Alden Ehrenreich sure can hold a close-up, "a little rough around the edges, but good," as the mysterious Qi'ra tells him. She's played by Emilia Clarke, Khaleesi from "Game of Thrones."

Donald Glover from "Atlanta" stars as gambler, Lando Calrissian, the same part played by Billy Dee Williams in the original saga.

But as the title suggests, "Solo" is Han's origin story: how he came to win the Millennium Falcon and what has never been explained -- how he met Chewbacca. The humor of the Wookiee balances the action well.

Solo teams up with a band of thieves headed by Woody Harrelson's character, with Thandie Newton playing his wife. They're looking to steal a powerful fuel, but substance is less important than style here.

One critic called what happens "dull and dutiful." I'd prefer to call it "dark" but certainly not dreary.

It's best to think of this movie as a return to the roots of this franchise: a space story told through installments like those shown in movie theaters back in the 1940s.

Call this a side dish in the "Star Wars" saga. "Solo" can stand on its own, but is best appreciated by those who know and love what happens in a galaxy far, far away.

The movie is from Walt Disney Studio, owned by the same parent company as abc7NY.

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