This review was originally posted at my Patreon.
It was like Jon Favreau read my mind and made a show just for me.
And that ain’t the first time that’s happened.
I have become, in case you haven’t heard, a huge fan of the Mandalorian. It’s basically Star Wars as a Western, which is very much in keeping with the frontier-aesthetic of A New Hope. And while it had much of the feel of a Kurosawa samurai-movie, that is likely because there was so much cross-pollination between Westerns and samurai films. The Mandalorian, though, was much more of a gunslinger than a ronin—though the Mandalorian cultural trappings had many intersections with what movies and comics have told us was the samurai code.
The episodes moved forward at their own speed, letting us bask in the story and luxuriate in the characters. It was not slow, because that kind of implies that it should have moved forward faster. It should not have. If the pace was not deliberate, it should have been. It made the later episodes—especially the penultimate and climactic episodes—hit so much harder. Even in those, we are treated to some honestly moving scenes that affected because we had grown to know these characters, especially the titular one.
As much of a joy as was the titular characters, the supporting cast really shone. These were great characters, and I definitely wanted to see more of them, even the ones who weren’t so nice and weren’t so honourable. They were all interesting. It was through their interactions rather than exposition that you learned about them and gained an understanding of them.
And they all had a plot purpose, each adding to the story of the Mandalorian in their own way.
The series also introduced us to new locations, and we were allowed to savour these, all of them feeling very fitting for a Star Wars stories. Like the characters and the props, the setting was imbued with the Star Wars aesthetic, something so central to the original trilogy.
This was a great part of my enjoyment in this series. It really felt like Star Wars. It hearkened back to A New Hope in a way not even the Empire Strikes Back did. This was not nostalgia—though it’s creation was likely set off by that—but as much an homage as samurai movies were of Westerns, which then became homages to them. The Mandalorian has all of that, baked in a delicious shell of Star Wars.
I give the Mandalorian 4.75 terrifyingly cult Force-wielding babies out of 5—only because nothing is perfect. Also, while I can’t recommend this highly enough, I always worry about overselling something. This is the perfect Star Wars property for me, perhaps not for everyone.