Picking up from the dramatic end of season one, the Mandalorian continues his quest to protect the cinematic universe’s favourite child. Set to the backdrop of a resurging sinister Empire, a carousel of new friends and foes to meet. The way continues to be an explosive adventure for the dynamic duo.
Season two captures the perfect essence of the Mandalorian in the first episode. The slow, meaningful, offbeat soundtrack that reminds you so much of a western is back. Mando is strutting his stuff down the dusty main street of an outpost mining town before crashing in guns blazing to save the day. By this point in the journey the latter plot arc is hardly a spoiler, as fondly familiar as Sean Bean being killed or James Bond getting pedantic with a bartender.
With the past year creating difficulty in all walks of life, anything bringing a sense of normality and routine was a welcome relief. Thankfully filming for the season wrapped up just before the pandemic leaving only post production, keeping it on track for its winter release. Written and directed largely by Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni, there is a sense of consistency which shows a real passion for what they are creating and the story they are telling. There are plenty of references to the wider Star Wars universe for the die-hard fan to enjoy, however the series as always carves its own path and justifies its existence. The way it fills in the historical context between the broad strokes of the blockbuster movies is exemplary. Run down empire bases really give off the feel of a defeated power clinging to its evil machinations in the dusty shadows of the galaxy.
The action scenes have stayed with me long after watching the series, without giving anything away, the first episode opens in a style that reminded me a little of some of The Witcher series fight scenes, which were one of the stronger points of the production. There’s an excellent chase sequence further into the season which is up there with the SOLO movie fight scene on top of the cargo train. Paced well against character development moments of action never drag and are done with impressively unique qualities, given Star Wars is so often a droid wildly firing around a point-blank target.
The score of the film stopped me from skipping the intro with its catchy tune and enjoyably supported the series without fail. The soundtrack consistently added weight to the on-screen action and knew when to use quieter moments to great impact. I noticed the OST even more I think because unlike many platforms Disney allow credits by default and those credits were really beautifully created. This may seem like an odd comment but I think you will agree when you see them. It does the series and its artists all the credit the format implies it should. Foly audio for the series was also excellent and listening in a full 5.1 setup it was great to pick up the drifting sands in a storm, the meaty clang of metal during fights or the shifting of character in their seat in tense moments, all helping to lose yourself in a new reality.
Set design and cinematography of the series was exceptional, if I close my eyes, I can easily pick out moments in time throughout the series which could easily be poster perfect moments. Be it the introduction of a new character emerging out of the mist in gripping style, or capturing the sense of life and hustle and bustle of galaxy planets. The consistent use of shots like the reverse cockpit of Mando’s ship helps make it feel more of a home as they travel far and wide, it also feeds into some of the physical humour and character tropes they build up around the duo’s road trip.
In conclusion, as you might have guessed, I loved it. I actually think it may be my favourite Star Wars production since Empire Strikes Back. It blends cinematic quality, pathos, fun and full-blooded action in equal measure with little I can find to gripe about. In a difficult year it was a highlight so it gets my heartful recommendation.
Author: Joe, Bath store