If you're already a Star Wars fan, The Mandalorian is a must-watch show that adds depth to the existing universe in some awesome ways
The Mandalorian review by Matt Owen
Created and written by Jon Favreau, The Mandalorian is a spin-off series in the Star Wars universe that plays out on a smaller scope than its feature film counterparts. The show stars Pedro Pascal as the eponymous Mandalorian, a masked bounty hunter who embarks on dangerous missions across the galaxy. Thrilling, dramatic, and featuring some undeniably charming characters, The Mandalorian is easily one of the best spin-offs in this prolific sci-fi universe. Although the show has become more divisive with each passing season, The Mandalorian still maintains the magic that made the original Star Wars films so engaging.
Set several years after the events of Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi, The Mandalorian revolves around the work of one bounty hunter, Din Djarin (Pascal). Colloquially referred to as “The Mandalorian” due to his mysterious nature as a member of the elite bounty-hunting clan, Din Djarin is a personable protagonist with plenty of emotion, despite his masked appearance. The first season mostly revolves around the Mandalorian's attempt to save a tiny Yoda-like creature from the grasp of Imperial scientists. As the series continues, the scope of the narrative expands, delving deeper into the lore of other Mandalorians and the galaxy at large.
Generally speaking, the story of The Mandalorian is fantastic, as each episode feels fun and exciting. Even when the main narrative gets sidelined, the show stays enthralling, with fun sequences and side stories. At times, the early seasons can feel video game-esque, with the Mandalorian undertaking various bounties and missions while he bides his time. Fan service becomes more frequent as the series progresses and the plot becomes long in the tooth by Season 3, but even at its low points, The Mandalorian still delivers satisfying Star Wars storytelling that everyone can enjoy.
Luckily, whenever the story grows lackluster, the high-quality action ramps up to hold your attention. Simply put, The Mandalorian is utterly packed with awesome sci-fi action. The show has everything you'd want from a Star Wars project, including flashy blaster shootouts, intense lightsaber fights, and more. The CGI is remarkable for a television show, rivaling the sort of visuals you'd expect from a big-budget Star Wars film. In some cases, The Mandalorian even tops the mainline movies, featuring some of the best starship dogfights in Star Wars history. Combined with excellent creature design and intriguing environments, The Mandalorian rarely feels stagnant when it comes to action.
The acting performances in The Mandalorian are also pretty good, with a solid lead, interesting side characters, and plenty of fun cameos. Pedro Pascal is especially effective as The Mandalorian/Din Djarin, effortlessly coming across as both a badass bounty hunter and a caring, fatherly figure. Giancarlo Esposito serves as the series' main antagonist, Moff Gideon, an Imperial loyalist with despicable plans. Epsoito has shown his dominance in villainous roles throughout his career, and his role in The Mandalorian is yet another example of that talent. That said, not every performance is perfect, as several cameos and secondary characters feel underdeveloped or poorly acted. Fortunately, there are more good performances than there are bad ones, resulting in a talented cast with only a few weak links.
It's also impossible to talk about The Mandalorian without bringing up the ever-adorable Grogu. Nicknamed “Baby Yoda” and referred to as “The Child” before he's properly named, this tiny green sidekick to the Mandalorian wins over every scene. After a few episodes, Grogu immediately becomes the most sympathetic character on the show, making it easy to see why Din Djarin is so protective. Together, the pair find power in their partnership, making for an iconic duo in a universe crowded with excellent characters.
If you're already a Star Wars fan, The Mandalorian is a must-watch show that adds depth to the existing universe in some awesome ways. Alternatively, it also works very well as a standalone show, so viewers with very little exposure to Star Wars can still enjoy the spectacle. The action is outstanding, the performances are solid, and the story stays interesting over multiple seasons. Equal parts family-friendly, intense, and inventive, The Mandalorian is an absolute win and arguably the best Star Wars content created in the past 5 years. As the show continues, it has lost a bit of its initial novelty, but it's still better than most science fiction shows on modern television.
Published on May 15th, 2023. Written by Matt Owen for Television Heaven.