Posted in Television

Rob Watches The Mandalorian: Return of a Jedi

SERIES: The Mandalorian
EPISODE:
S2.E8. “Chapter 16, The Rescue”
STARRING:
Pedro Pascal, Giancarlo Esposito, Katee Sackhoff, Gina Carano, Ming-Na Wen
WRITER:
Jon Favreau
DIRECTOR: Peyton Reed
PREMIERE DATE:
December 18, 2020
SYNOPSIS:
Mando and his allies storm Moff Gideon’s ship to save Grogu.

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Yes, I understand we skipped an episode. But for obvious reasons, this episode had to be talked about ASAP. We’ll come back to “The Believer” in a few days. Promise.

I hate Rogue One. I absolutely hate it, and can’t understand why so many people love it. But there’s one thing that movie did right: Captions that told us which planets we traveled to. Too many of these Disney-era Star Wars planets look the same.

Koska Reeves’ crack about Boba Fett being a sidekick rings true. That’s unexpected, considering this season is basically his big comeback. He’s got clean armor and everything!

Koska hitting Fett with a DDT is one of the most pro-wrestling things the episode could have done. I kind of love it.

See, if I’m a regular stormtrooper, I’m looking at that dark trooper armor and thinking, “Can I get at least half the protection that black armor provides?” Maybe then these damn troopers wouldn’t be so expendable…

Seriously. Cara Dune’s gun getting jammed was the worst thing that happened to our heroes as they faced down a virtual army of stormtroopers. It’s frustrating.

Those dark troopers are definitely nightmare fuel. Kudos on the design.

“…properties that have the potential to bring order back to the galaxy.” It’s reasonable to assume that means properties that can resurrect Palpatine, properties that can eventually be used to create Snoke, or some combination of both.

I like that the Darksaber was burning Mando’s staff the longer the two weapons had direct contact. It indicates the lightsaber is more powerful, which is as it should be.

Luke. Skywalker. Holy. Crap. This show just pulled out all the stops. The anticipation, the tension, leading up to the reveal of Luke’s face, was amazing. What a moment…

What’s more, they got Mark Hamill involved! I’m very anxious to see if it was just his voice, or if he was somehow involved on set as well.

And we get an appearance by R2-D2 as a bonus!

I just saw a headline that indicated this episode betrayed its characters by “indulging in the Skywalker saga.” The sub-head indicated new Star Wars had succumbed to old Star Wars. That’s a frustrating sentiment to read. But it’s a valid point. Despite a wonderfully emotional goodbye between Mando and Grogu, Luke pulled focus. It was inevitable. Anything from the original trilogy is going to have that effect. I mentioned Rogue One above, and Darth Vader had the same effect in that movie.

It’s a little bit like dangling a shiny object in front of a little kid. With this finale, Jon Favreau basically dangled a shiny object in front of the little kid in all of us. I really can’t dispute that.

But I would argue that, despite Luke pulling focus, the heart of the episode was indeed about Mando and Grogu. Those are two new characters that we’ve come to know and love over the course of two seasons. I also can’t dispute that.

And honestly, where else could this story have gone? Side effects of bringing in Luke notwithstanding, it’s logical that Grogu, being as strong in the Force as he is, would encounter him at some point…

Mrs. Primary Ignition was quite curious about what this episode means for Grogu’s fate, as he’s obviously not in the sequel trilogy. At the moment, I have two theories.

  1. Grogu’s attachment to Mando eventually lures him toward the dark side, and he has to abandon his training and return to his surrogate father.
  2. He stays with Luke, but is killed by Ben Solo during the events leading up to The Force Awakens.

Understandably, she was horrified at option 2. But I suspect we’ll discover the answer sooner or later.

Another headline I saw recently? How the “Marvel-fication” of Star Wars has officially begun. In other words, new shows, spin-offs, and all sorts of inter-connected content. You won’t find a clearer piece of evidence than The Mandalorian taking a page out of Marvel’s book with a post-credits scene. A pretty awesome post-credits scene, but a post-credits scene nonetheless.

We see that Bib Fortuna has taken over as the head of Jabba’s palace. Does he actually control anything? The throne seems to suggest he does. So is that what The Book of Boba Fett is about? Fett taking control of Jabba’s crumbling criminal empire?

I think the best season finales often leave us with questions. So what questions did this episode leave us with?

  1. What’s next for Mando? He’s got the Darksaber now, and is seemingly in conflict with Bo-Katan Kryze. So does he get involved with re-building Mandalore? Or does he go back to bounty hunting?
  2. Despite getting captured, Moff Gideon accomplished his goal. He got Grogu’s blood. So what now comes of that? Do the experiments start? Have they already started?
  3. The Boba Fett questions are rather obvious.
  4. Are we going to hear more from Luke and Grogu? Or does that become territory for another series? The recently announced Ahsoka spin-off comes to mind.

Definitely no shortage of questions. We’ll have a lot to think about over the next year!

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Posted in Uncategorized

An Ant-Man Review – Cartoony, But Still Quality

Ant-Man (2015)TITLE: Ant-Man

STARRING: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lily, Corey Stoll, Bobby Cannavale, Michael Pena, and Michael Douglas
DIRECTOR: Peyton Reed
STUDIO: Marvel

RATING: PG-13

RUN TIME: 117 Minutes
RELEASED: July 17, 2015

By Levi Sweeney
Staff Writer, Grand X

The character of Ant-Man is blessed with slightly more fame and prestige than the Guardians of the Galaxy, but retains an inherent aura of silliness about him. Simply put, how does a superhero whose primary power is shrinking himself down to ant-size actually get anything done? Fortunately, Ant-Man embraces that aura with every ounce of energy it has, and combines it with the trappings of a heist movie. The result is probably the most original superhero film ever made.

Paul Rudd stars as Scott Lang, a recently released cat-burglar who’s trying to go straight. He tries to find honest work. Meanwhile, Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) is rattled to discover that his former protege Darren Cross (Corey Stoll) is developing his own version of the Ant-Man technology for military applications. Pym and his daughter Hope (Evangeline Lily) wind up recruiting Scott to don the Ant-Man suit and to “break into a place and steal some s—” one last time.

Ant-Man, image 1From the very beginning of the film, a tone is established that hasn’t been set since Iron Man. Instead of dramatic orchestral music, there’s fast-paced Mexican salsa music. It’s there from the very start. Scott and Luis are bantering back and forth, setting up jokes and keeping the air light. Hank Pym is an older scientist and retired superhero with a chip on his shoulder, sort of like Bruce Wayne in Batman Beyond. The sheer life that Rudd and Douglas bring to their respective roles practically reverberates off the screen.

Iron Man was notable for combining action with comedy. If Iron Man did it a little, Ant-Man does it a lot. There are so many moments that are genuinely hilarious, often involving sight gags and dramatic irony. Likewise, the comedic atmosphere brought on by Rudd, Douglas, Pena, and the other bit-players infuses the entire movie with this fun, silly, unabashedly humorous vibe. Douglas in particular is a great straight man to Rudd, as is a special guest Avenger who briefly shows up in the middle of the movie as part of a silly interlude.

Ant-Man, image 2There are two specific actors who are particularly notable for different reasons. First, Evangeline Lilly, who plays Hope Van Dyne, brings a great deal of emotion to her role, nicely rounding out the cast with Rudd and Douglas. She has plenty to do and contributes to the story, in much the same way that Gwyneth Paltrow’s Pepper Pots did in the Iron Man movies. Her romantic subplot with Scott is partly played for laughs, which is a pretty good way to handle it.

And then there’s Darren Cross, a.k.a. Yellowjacket. Cross is probably the most cartoonishly evil villain ever to walk on screen in an MCU film. He tortures cute-looking sheep. He openly complains about his company not being able to partake in blatantly illegal activities. He casually vaporizes people who may slightly hinder his plans. Oh, and he does business with Hydra cronies.

Ant-Man, image 3, Darren CrossI could write a whole review about how this movie is decidedly anti-corporation and anti-weapon, but I think I’ll let the audience find out for themselves. Cross here is just a Lex Luthor knock-off, with Corey Stoll apparently aping Kevin Spacey’s take on that character in Superman Returns. There’s an attempt to make Cross look like a victim of Pym’s neglect. It’s implied that his work with the Yellowjacket formula is messing with his brain, but there’s no foreshadowing at all. Cross is an evil jackhat at the beginning and an evil jackhat at the end.

But all told, Ant-Man manages to impress me in a way that few other superhero movies have. I got some good laughs, I was entertained and had fun, and it made me eager to see what a sequel would be like. Paul Rudd is great as Ant-Man, as is Evangeline Lilly as Hope. Michael Douglas as Hank Pym and Michael Pena as Luis know how to pull their weight too. As a quick heads-up, there are two after credits sequences. One is at the end of the fancy credits sequence, and the other is at the end of the regular credit sequence. Moviegoers, be aware!

RATING: 8/10

Images 1 and 2 from rottentomatoes.com. Image 3 from geeksofdoom.com.

Follow Primary Ignition on Twitter @PrimaryIgnition, or at Facebook.com/PrimaryIgnition/