The Mandalorian - Episode 1.01 - Chapter 1 - Review
42 years after Star Wars changed the world (and subsequently shaped my entire life), the first live action Star Wars show is finally here. The Mandalorian comes from Iron Man and Chef filmmaker Jon Favreau. The following review will be spoiler free.
For those that watch a lot of things, it is quite easy to tell what is made for television and what was made for theaters. It would be hard to tell from a single frame of The Mandalorian though. It looks gorgeous. It is definitely shot like a feature film. The score from Ludwig Göransson lends to that feel as well. He took some bold chances, and most of them paid off.
The episode is pretty straightforward, laying out the time frame and the "rules" of the show. Unfortunately this means that there is a lot of exposition. Exposition can be fun when done correctly. But when it involves a 2 dimensional protagonist, it can get a little long in the tooth.
The protagonist is supposed to be that way however. A Mandalorian is very calculated. Think of Batman. There isn't a lot of emotion that is supposed to be there. But the show doesn't explain that about Mandalorians for those who may be new to Star Wars and not know it. Luckily, the other actors more than make up for it.
Carl Weathers did a lot with the little he had to do in Chapter 1. Weathers brings an authority and a matter-of-fact attitude to a chaotic world. Director Dave Filoni and Favreau both crafted that scene to leave you wanting more of his character.
Werner Herzog is in a Star Wars project. Read that sentence again. He is a very intense presence, and his role in The Mandalorian is certainly no exception. He is shrouded in mystery, and the company he keeps just creates more questions. Like with Weathers, Herzog leaves you wanting to know more about him.
There are a lot of creatures on display in "Chapter 1", some new and some familiar. It is part of what makes the world distinct, and helps The Mandalorian feel like Star Wars.
Out of the 3 distinct eras of Star Wars, The Mandalorian certainly feels like the Original Trilogy era the most. But it has elements for fans of any era to love. Favreau and Filoni crafted this show with nothing but love, and it is obvious from the detail in every frame.
"Chapter 1" doesn't play like a standalone movie. It plays like...the first chapter of a story. To judge it under any other prism is unfair. So while there were some problematic elements, they should even out as the story gets more fleshed out. The whole episode is just them setting the table, but it still provides entertaining action sequences and fresh characters with lots of potential.
There is a fun surprise at the end, and little Easter eggs sprinkled throughout to reward long time fans of the franchise. "Chapter 1" gets a lot right, and did a lot of necessary work to be the foundation of the story.
The first episode of The Mandalorian is now streaming, exclusively on Disney+.