A (re)return to form

November 14th, 2019

*no spoilers for this one, so you’re good to read if you’re not up to date
**the images in this article represent spoilers without context
***spoilers without context are not spoilers, shut up

Let’s tell it like it is: there’s been good and bad with LFL under Disney just as there’s been good and bad with LFL under George. For every TLJ, there was an Attack of the Clones, for every misstep or stupid plot choice in the books and comics, you can find a similar one in the EU, down to the very return of Palpatine (albeit a clone in the EU).
I’m still partial to the days of yore, but I also think The Phantom Menace was the best prequel, so take my opinion with a grain of salt, 100% right as it may be.

Simultaneously, we’ve had some good stuff under Disney, too: starting with Rogue One and all the book material revolving around it, the latest Thrawn trilogy (as well as the following one), the increased boardgaming material output from Fantasy Flight Games, and a resurgence of memes as we know and love them.
Seriously, we haven’t had content this hot since the prequel days. The sequels are giving those a run for their money and might even pull out a surprise win after TROS hits.

Quote me on that!

You all know I’m not a boycotter, but I don’t go out of my way to buy every piece of content like a good consumer/fanboi, either. I pick and choose whatever strikes my fancy and try to push for that sort of content to get focused on and replicated more going forward because that’s how I believe I’ll be making a difference.

And I jolly well think The Mandalorian falls into the category that deserves pushing.

I’ve said it before, though maybe not on here in particular: Dave Filoni overseeing a Star Wars product can only come off as decent at the very least, especially when he’s allowed to explore more mature themes and story arcs (Umbara still fucking rocks to this day!) and I think Rebels showed that he was being held back on that end. Jon Favreau being attached is just a bonus - the guy’s pretty good with pleasing all manner of fans across the spectrum.
So, it came as no surprise to me (although I was still cautious) that I enjoyed the first episode of Mando. A lot. And that I can’t wait for tomorrow’s entry.

The plot still gets bogged down in a few tropes I’d like to have a spoilery chat with you all over in The Gung-Ho Group on, but they’re not jarring and they don’t detract from the overall experience, at least in my book. On the contrary, they kind of go hand in hand with both pacing and character archetype tropes of old. This probably makes me see them as a callback to the OT in a first episode overflowing with callbacks, both the subtle and requiring some knowledge of the universe as a whole kind as well as the more in-your-face ones.

The whole thing does seem a lot like a wild West in space tale (or, snippet of a tale), and actually had me cocking my head sideways, thinking I was watching another episode of Firefly a couple times. Which is great, I’m sure I don’t need to tell you. This is true for pacing as well as overall tone.
The soundtrack probably had the most to do with this, but there were also vistas, close-up shots, the way the titular character acts and moves, and the general set pieces of the film that brought all of that into sharp focus pretty much throughout the episode’s runtime.

There’s also a lot (A LOT) of practical cinematic fuckery, from puppets to masks, from props to sets, everything feels real, grimy, dirty, and… legitimate, somehow. It all feels like it belongs in the OT, alongside the clanker of a Millennium Falcon and the downbeat cantinas and planets our favourite childhood heroes... beat down.
And yes, along the entirety of Rogue One, as well.

There are more than a couple high-octane or high-snark moments that also fall into the same vein, be they one liners or action shots. Pedro Pascal’s gruff drawl is enhanced by the dull buzzing speaker tone that filters from underneath his helmet, and the acting (be it human or otherwise) is ok as a bare minimum. It’s not excruciatingly bad, nor is it absolutely stellar.
It simply serves its purpose without drawing groans from this particularly pedantic prick.
Your mileage may vary, I’m sure, but there was a lot of enjoyment for me to find here, and I’m genuinely excited about following the series, especially with the way the plot was set up to go forward. Worst thing I can say about it is it all seems to go by in a flash but for a bit of a sag in the middle.

And yes, before the inevitable questions line up: this doesn’t rape your childhood, nor does it constitute an attack on older fans, more hardcore fans, or masculinity, in general. Trust me on this one: this is Star Wars the way we’ve been waiting for it for a while now.

Hey, look! Another random fan on the internet enjoyed something Disney came up with.
Burn the fucker!
That’s fine, as long as you do it after December 27th so that I can watch this whole thing through, eh?

Thanks for reading, and have as nice a day as you deserve!

P.S. remember to join The Mandalorian Bountyposting on Facebook for some fresh dankness originating from this particular corner of the galaxy.

About the author: