THE MANDALORIAN – SEASON 2 | TV Review

RELEASED: October 30th 2020 – December 18th 2020
DISTRIBUTED BY: Disney+
EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: Jon Favreau, Dave Filoni, Kathleen Kennedy & Colin Wilson
WRITTEN BY: Jon Favreau, Dave Filoni & Rick Famuyiwa
DIRECTED BY: Jon Favreau, Peyton Reed, Bryce Dallas Howard, Carl Weathers, Dave Filoni, Robert Rodriguez & Rick Famuyiwa
MUSIC BY: Ludwig Göransson
STARRING: Pedro Pascal, Gina Carano, Temuera Morrison, Ming-Na Wen, Katee Sackoff, Mercedes Varnado, Giancarlo Esposito, Carl Weathers, Omid Abtahi, Amy Sedaris, Horatio Sanz, Rosario Dawson & Timothy Olyphant

REVIEW: While I enjoyed the first season of The Mandalorian and gave it a decent rating, I didn’t see it as ‘the best thing since Empire‘ like many seemed to.

I thought the two-part finale was phenomenal but generally found the episodes before it ranged from ‘good’ to mostly ‘just fine’. I appreciated it for what it was, but especially considering it came out at the same time as Watchmen, I couldn’t throw any accolades its way.

The second season however, is something truly special.

While episode 2 could in some ways be classified as a bit filler-y; the majority of the episodes this time around are focused and packed with things that will make Star Wars fans go crazy. From live-action Ahsoka Tano to an actually cool Boba Fett, season 2 grabs at various bits of Star Wars lore, doing its best to cleanly implement them into the story and leave them better off than it found them.

With Jon Favreau having written the majority of the season, things flow a lot better, allowing each director to come in and add their own unique flair to the episode in a way that gives nearly all of them a touch of greatness. Rick Famuyiwa also comes in later in the season to pen an episode, and it is perhaps the most thoughtful of the lot; easily in the running for one of the show’s best.

An exception to this (rather controversially I’m sure) is the Dave Filoni-written-and-directed episode. I have a lot of love for Filoni and the way he’s helped influence that galaxy far far away in Clone Wars and Rebels, but I think his episodes of The Mandalorian continue to highlight his background in animation and comparative inexperience in live-action. He has a keen eye for visuals, but the way he directs action and actors leaves a little something to be desired.

Most people lost their minds over his episode though, so maybe that’s just me.

Also returning alongside Favreau and Filoni this season is composer Ludwig Goransson, who once again knocks it out of the park with his soundtrack. This season, his songs are far more varied, but all undeniably Star Wars.

The various guest stars and supporting actors similarly put in the work to make their characters memorable, and in many cases, put themselves forward as new fan favourites. Highlights include the charming Timothy Olyphant in the series opener, a surprisingly emotional performance from comedian Bill Burr and Katee Sackoff, who brings her animated character Bo-Katan to life and presents as one to watch going forward. Rosario Dawson gives a good go as Ahsoka Tano in a performance that’s a little jarring due to the lack of Ashley Eckstein, albeit one that will no doubt become more familiar in her own show.

But the greatest achievement of season two comes in the form of Temuera Morrison returning to Star Wars to play Boba Fett. Supposedly the best bounty hunter in the galaxy, and definitely a character who went out like a chump in the Original Trilogy, The Mandalorian revives the iconic mercenary, and finally gives him some screentime worth celebrating. Morrison is excellent in the role, and thanks to Favreau and episode-director Robert Rodriguez, those long-time fans who have long stood by him are finally justified in their decisions to buy all his memorabilia.

This revamp of Boba Fett highlights the show’s greatest strength; it’s mastery of fan-service. It takes its influence from all different eras of Star Wars, and subsequently has got things that will make Original Trilogy, Prequel Trilogy and Sequel Trilogy fans happy, and even throws in a ton of the de-canonised Legends material for good measure.

It makes me think of a quote from Time‘s review of The Force Awakens which I think sums up that film perfectly:

‘Abrams begins delivering everything we expect, as opposed to those nebulous wonders we didn’t know we wanted.’

In contrast, The Mandalorian delivers everything you want and expect AND all those nebulous wonders you didn’t know you wanted.

And that’s why, all-in-all, I give The Mandalorian Season 2:

Thanks for reading! Is The Mandalorian the greatest bit of Star Wars content since Empire? Let me know in the comments below!

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