Those Basic Figures….

When you need to be rescued in the checkout lane….

Hasbro, Marvel, Star Wars, and Disney know just how to market toys to children and their parents. Some parents plunk down ten to twenty bucks for a hunk of plastic that won’t receive more than ten minutes of attention from a kid. More frugal parents will hold out on their kid until they get to the checkout lane at the store where Hasbro has some cheaper figures with bright colors and limited articulation. You know what figures I am talking about. You’ve probably picked up a few of them over the years for yourself or for your children. Most of them have three points of articulation: a swivel neck and two swivel shoulders. A couple of them swivel at the waist. A few of them come with an accessory. For the most part, these figures are just for decoration but they do have their merits.

One of the best things about these figures is their price point. For about five dollars you can own Captain America, Thor, Din Djarin, Luke Skywalker, or even Thanos or Darth Vader. Almost all of the figures are the same height. With the exception of Grogu (Baby Yoda), all of the figures that I’ve seen are six inches tall. Grogu is scaled to match Din Djarin (The Mandalorian) but the Hulk, Thanos, and the Hulkbuster Armor Iron Man are all the same scale as figures like Spider-Man and Black Panther.

Another excellent thing about these figures is that despite their limited articulation, younger kids can get quite a bit of playtime out of them, especially on a road trip. With almost no accessories to worry about losing, parents can toss a few of these figures into the back seat with the kids and let them go on a mini adventure. If one of them happens to get broken, it’s not a big deal since you’re only out five bucks.

My personal favorite thing about these figures is how amazing many of them look. Din Djarin and Thanos are two of my favorite figures. They look great. The paint apps are wonderful and the overall design of the figure is extremely appealing. Sure, there are a few paint apps on some of these figures that are atrocious (I’m looking at you, Luke Skywalker and Iron Man), but for the most part they are wonderful to put on display.

These figures probably won’t be worth much as the years go by due to the fact that you can find them in almost every major department store. Plus, they use the same molds over and over and only change the design on the boxes. They just recently released an entire line of Star Wars figures and almost all of them are the same molds and paint apps on the same old figures that have been released multiple times over the years. The newest figures in the line appear to be Grogu and Din Djarin, which makes sense due to the fact that they are two of the newest Star Wars characters.

I enjoy collecting these figures. I know exactly what I’m getting and haven’t been disappointed yet. If I’m ever down in the dumps, getting one of these figures lifts my spirits. I don’t know what it is about them that I love so much. They are just fun to have around and display. I know a lot of “collectors” scoff at these cheap figures, but they have an appeal that cannot be denied. Plus, they are an excellent option for families on a budget or for stressed out parents in the checkout lane.

Thanks for reading my post. See you again real soon!

Marvel Legends Series: Death Dealer

Who is the mysterious Death Dealer?

Marvel has definitely stirred up quite a bit of interest in its upcoming film, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, by injecting the mysterious Death Dealer into the film’s first full-length trailer. Not only does the character look awesome, we also get to see how the Death Dealer has apparently been a part of Shang-Chi’s life for a long time. In the comics, the character only had a short run in Master of Kung Fu (1982). Known as Li Ching-Lin, the character was an MI6 agent and worked for Fu Manchu, the father of Shang-Chi. If you’ve seen the trailer, you already know that Wenwu is Shang-Chi’s father in the film and he’s also the Mandarin, so that makes the Death Dealer even more mysterious. With his predominantly deep blue costume, Kabuki-styled mask (yes, I know Kabuki is Japanese), ponytail, and throwing knives in tow, I have a feeling that Death Dealer might just become the Boba Fett of the MCU.

Ultimately the Death Dealer’s role doesn’t matter even if he turns out to be a chump in the film, because he’s definitely the coolest figure in the Mr. Hyde Build-A-Figure line. The detail on this figure is awesome. The amazing mask has eyes that are piercing. The detail work on the arm guards is on point, especially the tassels at the elbow. There are also great details on the boots, belt, and robe. This figure just looks great.

As amazing as this figure looks, there is one slight problem with it. While the robe doesn’t hinder the poseability of the Death Dealer as much as the Wenwu figure in this line, it does limit posing somewhat. That doesn’t bother me very much but I felt the need to mention this one slight issue with the figure.

The accessories for the Death Dealer include the left arm of Mr. Hyde and a pair of “action” hands. One hand is featured throwing two knives and the other hand features a knife about to be thrown. While these don’t seem like very many accessories, they are definitely the best looking ones in this line. Plus, I’ve come to expect a lack of accessories in the Marvel Legends series as a whole. It’s probably my biggest gripe with the entire line of figures from Hasbro.

If I was only going to buy one figure in the Mr. Hyde/Shang-Chi line, Death Dealer would be the figure that I would purchase. Wonderful coloring, excellent accessories, and an overall awesome look sets this figure apart from the rest of the line. I can look beyond the posing issues with this figure because it just looks great. I highly recommend this figure.

With the acquisition of Death Dealer, I have all of the necessary components to build Mr. Hyde. Be on the lookout for a review of that figure very soon. Thank you for checking out my post. Let me know in the comments if you are collecting any figures from any line by Hasbro. I’d love to hear your opinion on them. I’d also appreciate any ideas for future posts. Don’t forget to share any of my posts that you like and let your friends know about my blog!

A New Marvel Film, Short Film Fun, And More…..

“Okay, see you… September!”

Today is Simu Liu’s birthday. Fans of Kim’s Convenience (available in the United States on Netflix) already know Liu as Jung, the elder Kim sibling who has a strained relationship with his father in the series. For the rest of the world, Marvel’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings will most likely be their introduction to the actor.

Simu Liu (rear, left) with the stellar cast of Kim’s Convenience. L to R: Andrea Bang, Paul Sun-Hyung Lee, Andrew Phung, Jean Yoon, and Nicole Power.

I can’t wait for this film to hit in September. Shang-Chi offers us a chance to see Marvel spread its wings a bit and take a chance on a character that few outside of the comic book shop have ever heard about in pop culture. I know that I’m in the minority when I say this, but Marvel has pretty much been on autopilot with their films, with strategic releases of lesser known character flicks like Captain Marvel, Ant-Man, and Black Panther book-ended by bigger films or with those characters introduced in movies anchored by characters like Captain America and Iron Man. Shang-Chi is pretty much walking into theaters solo, much like the first Iron Man flick did so many years ago. Hopefully Shang-Chi will breathe new life into a stale MCU. Be sure to check out the teaser trailer here.

In other news, I spent most of my Saturday in Sulphur, LA at the Henning Cultural Center. I attended the Calcasieu Parish Short Film Festival. I watched a ton of excellent short films and even got to assist with the awards ceremony at the end of the event. Kudos go out to Patrick Bennett, director of the festival, and Thom Trahan and Kat Godsey, executive director and assistant director, respectively, of the Brimstone Museum and Henning Cultural Center. Not only did they put on an excellent event, they did so without two important buildings. The Brimstone Museum was completely destroyed by Hurricane Laura last year and the annex building (which usually houses many of the events on site, including the film festival) received extensive damage. Neither were available to be used for the festival. The Henning House came out of Hurricane Laura in relatively good shape, and was the sole building available for use. It proved to be a great setting for the event.

In other news, CONVENTIONS ARE MAKING A COMEBACK! I’m hoping to attend Day Ga Com in May this year. If I do get to go, it will be the first convention that I’ve attended in over a year! The guest list looks pretty awesome and they’re going to have wrestling going on as well, so I really want to go. Louisiana Comic Con is returning in August as well. Earlier this year I was offered the chance to put on a panel for a virtual version of CyPhaCon, but due to having to deal with the loss of my home during Hurricane Laura and a ton of other things, I did not turn in a panel for the event. I didn’t feel that I had enough time to prepare something that would be enjoyable for virtual attendees. That being said, I did turn in a panel for Louisiana Comic Con and I hope that my panel is selected for presentation.

Louisiana Comic Con has released the names of a few of this year’s guests, my favorite being Doug Jones of Hellboy and Star Trek Discovery fame. He’s been in a ton of films and television shows including Pan’s Labyrinth, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, and Hocus Pocus. Plus, he’s a great guest. I met him a few years ago at a Wizard World show in New Orleans.

In other news, I’m currently reading Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick. Look for my review in the near future. It will be a part of my Dimestore Reads series. Dollar General has surprised me with some of their book selections lately, and there are a couple more reviews around the corner from that store coming soon!

Thanks for checking out this quick post. More toy, film, and book reviews are on the way!

Star Wars The Black Series: Bo-Katan Kryze

“…Mandalorians are stronger together.”

I really like Hasbro’s The Black Series line of Star Wars figures. I’ve purchased quite a few over the years but always try to limit myself to characters that I love and/or figures that look wonderful. Recently, Hasbro has unleashed a number of new figures on collectors, many of which come from Disney’s wildly successful The Mandalorian series. To be quite honest, there aren’t many of the figures from this series that I want to purchase, but one figure, Bo-Katan Kryze, caught my eye.

Why did I choose to pick up a Bo-Katan figure? For the simple fact that I really enjoyed the character on Star Wars: The Clone Wars and was glad to see her return in a live action series. Katee Sackhoff’s portrayal of the character on the animated Clone Wars was flawless, and her live action delivery very good as well. I’d love to meet her one day and get a photo and autograph.

As far as the figure goes, it’s excellent. Sackhoff’s likeness is captured extremely well and her armor looks wonderful. The figure comes with Bo-Katan’s iconic Nite Owl helmet, complete with Mandalorian markings and movable rangefinder, and her armor is scored by scratches, burns, and other battle damage marks.

The helmet is removable and I have had a long debate as to whether or not I should display the figure with or without her helmet. Her included blasters can be holstered or held in her hands. Her jetpack looks great as well.

The figure features the standard multi points of articulation that allow her to be posed in a number of ways. Unlike many other armored figures in the line over the years, Bo-Katan’s articulation isn’t hindered too much by shoulder pads, shin guards, or anything else.

I don’t plan on getting any of the other figures from The Mandalorian at the moment. It’s nothing personal, I just don’t have the shelf space or funds to justify buying tons of figures that I really don’t want. Bo-Katan is a must-have for fans of the character, though. It’s a great figure in a very long line of excellent figures released by Hasbro.

Thanks for reading my post. I have to apologize for the somewhat blurry photos. I recently received a new ring light and this was my first attempt at using it. I hope to have a new phone in the next few months and hopefully that will remedy my blurry photos. Oh, and if you’re a photographer, I’d love to hear some tips on using a phone camera for pictures. I know that it’s not ideal, but it’s all that I have at the moment.

The Mandalorian Chapter 16

The Rescue

Merry Christmas! Since most of you will probably be unwrapping presents tomorrow morning, I decided to post my review of the season finale of The Mandalorian a day early! Please be aware that there are a few MAJOR SPOILERS for this episode in this post following my general review. Don’t worry, though, as I’ll give you a warning before I hit any spoilers. Also, if you haven’t seen the last couple of episodes, there will be spoilers from those episodes mentioned as well. Those spoilers will be found in my general review.

Din Djarin is intent on finding Grogu and putting an end to Moff Gideon in Chapter 16, The Rescue. The episode finds the Mandalorian and his group of allies, Cara Dune, Boba Fett, Fennec Shand, Koska Reeves, and Bo-Katan, in hot pursuit of Moff Gideon. Capturing an Imperial Shuttle and taking Dr. Pershing as a prisoner, the group comes up with a daring plan to gain entry into Gideon’s cruiser and save Grogu. Do they make it? Watch The Rescue to find out!

The episode is light on plot and heavy on action. To be honest, though, there’s no real need for a lot of plot since it is essentially a desperate rescue mission. The action is well choreographed, especially the battle between Din and a key character and one of the surprise arrivals on the cruiser versus a ton of enemies. Many people claim that this episode reminded them of classic Star Wars and that it was the best episode of the season. In my opinion, Chapter 12, The Siege, was the episode that reminded me most of classic Star Wars and it was also my favorite episode of this season. I think a lot of people got caught up in the emotional ending and the surprises that showed up at the end of the episode. While I loved those surprises, they didn’t blow me away as much as they apparently blew away other folks.

In all, this was a very good episode with a nice surprise ending and mid-credits scene. That’s the end of my general review, get ready for SPOILERS BELOW!!!

Spoilers Below!!! Major Spoilers!!!

This episode was loaded with not one, not two, but three surprise appearances. It also featured a ton of CGI Dark Troopers. The CGI was fairly good, but the Dark Troopers moved choppily and were reminiscent of the lacking CGI Centurion Cylons in the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica. I was really impressed with the battle between Din and Moff Gideon. I also enjoyed the massive battle featuring a character that I’ll mention in just a little bit.

The Dark Troopers prove to be a formidable opponent for Din and become the final great threat to the Mandalorian and his allies. Luckily help arrives in the form of a lone X-Wing fighter (and, no, it isn’t Carson Teva). Of course, the X-Wing is a dead giveaway to the first surprise appearance but I kept telling myself that it couldn’t be THAT character. Then we see the ignition of a green lightsaber by a character in a very Return of the Jedi looking costume and it’s pretty obvious that Luke Skywalker has arrived on The Mandalorian. Luke tears through the Dark Troopers with ease, appearing to relish the destruction of each of the troopers. It’s a scene that is very reminiscent of Darth Vader’s glorious arrival at the end of Star Wars: Rogue One. After a tearjerking moment between Luke, Din, and Grogu, it doesn’t seem like the little guy will leave the Mando’s side….until the second surprise cameo happens: R2-D2!

The episode ends with Grogu agreeing to go with Luke and R2 to continue his Jedi training. It’s a heartfelt moment that really got to me. The credits roll and halfway through we are given the third, albeit brief, appearance by another classic character. Mirroring Luke’s arrival at Jabba’s palace in ROTJ, Boba Fett and Fennec Shand storm into the palace where we see Bib Fortuna, Jabba’s former aide, sitting atop a throne. He’s quickly dispatched by Boba Fett and Boba takes his place on the throne. We are then teased with The Book of Boba Fett, which will be a new series next year. There were also a few other familiar faces in Jabba’s old palace including some Gamorrean guards, Weequays, Rodians, and other alien races already seen in previous Star Wars films and stories.

The episode was one of the better ones of the second season. It does a fine job of tying the series into the fabric of the Star Wars films and other properties. It was nice to see Bib Fortuna, R2, and Luke in the episode as well. It will be interesting to see where season three goes now that Grogu is gone. We’ve got a year to figure out what’s going to happen!

Thanks for reading my post and I hope that all of you have a merry Christmas! I’ve got a few other reviews up my sleeve and I’ve already received a few books that I plan on covering in later posts. See you again real soon!

Mulan (2020)

My “reflection” on this film

1998’s animated Disney film Mulan is one of my favorite films. It managed to blend brilliant action sequences (that awesome avalanche scene) with an engaging and inspired tale. The 2020 version of the film attempts to do something similar with a few changes, additions, and removals and, to a degree, it succeeds. I enjoyed the film as I watched it, but I kept feeling as if something was missing. Read on to get my opinion on the film. There are a few spoilers in my review, but nothing too major.

The film’s plot is essentially the same as the animated film: Mulan, a misfit in her community, disguises herself as a boy in order to take her injured and aging father’s place in the Emperor’s army as it wages a defensive battle against a sinister invading force. Along the way she learns to be true to herself and shatters cultural barriers for women in the process.

There are also quite a few changes to the story, especially when it comes to the supporting characters. Most notably, there is no Mushu, Cri-Kee, Shan Yu, or Li Shiang. Instead, Bori Khan, a Rouran warrior determined to avenge his father’s death, replaces Shan Yu as the primary threat and, at least according to numerous sources including the production team, Li Shiang is replaced by two characters, Commander Tung and Chen Honghui. Shan Yu’s falcon from the animated film is replaced by a shapeshifting “witch” named Xianniang who joins forces with Bori Khan to overthrow the emperor.

Perhaps the biggest change of all was the addition of Mulan’s chi giving her superhuman powers. There are plenty of other reviews and critical lists about this film where you can see why the treatment of chi was disappointing to many, so I’ll let those people discuss that aspect of the film.

In all honesty, these changes didn’t bother me one bit. I viewed the film as its own movie and not as an adaptation of the animated classic.

I enjoyed this film. Director Niki Caro did especially well with character development. She quickly established the roles of the secondary characters and used the bulk of the film to develop Mulan. She hinted at the romance between Mulan and Chen without having it get in the way of the main plot. The action sequences were very good but could have been better. I’ll go more in depth on that topic in a minute. The music by Harry Gregson-Williams, a composer I have grown to love over the years, was epic when necessary and subdued when it aided the plot. Cinematographer Mandy Walker really shined with this film. There are many breathtaking wide shots (both real and CGI) that pop with color throughout the film.

The cast was excellent as well. Liu Yifei does an excellent job as Mulan. Donnie Yen’s performance as Commander Tung is very good as are the performances of Jason Scott Lee as Bori Khan and Yoson An as Chen. Of special note is Gong Li as Xianniang. Her character could have easily become an unintentionally funny character, but she made the “witch” both fierce and weak at the same time. I honestly wouldn’t mind seeing a film focus on her character. The rest of the cast, which includes Jet Li, Tzi Ma, Rosalind Chao, and Ron Yuan, all did admirable jobs in their roles. Of special note is a brief cameo by Ming-Na Wen, who voiced Mulan in the 1998 animated film.

My biggest gripe with this film is the action sequences. Yes, many of them were grand, but all of them seemed to be missing something. With nods to Wuxia films, the fight sequences included wall-walking, superhuman jumps, punches, and kicks, and excellent swordplay, but all of them just seemed to be too short. Just as things start to get going during the fighting sequences, the action swiftly ends. Sure, this is a Disney film so I don’t expect it to be full of blood and gore, but I would expect the fights to last a bit longer. In fact, the battle sequences in the animated film are superior to the live action movie in my opinion. With stars such as Yifei, Yen, Li, Lee, and more known for doing many and/or all of their own stunts, I believe that this movie missed out on a great opportunity to bring Wuxia to a large audience.

Had the film done a better job with the fight sequences, I would have enjoyed it a lot more. As it is, though, it’s still a very good film. I can’t comment on the cultural aspects of the movie as I’m not well versed on Chinese culture. The film was beautifully shot, had excellent pacing, and had a great moral of being true to oneself. If you enjoy war epics, this film might fall a bit short, but it’s still a very serviceable film. I liked it.

Thanks for reading my review. Let me know what you thought of the film in the comments section. I’ll have another film review coming soon!

The Mandalorian Chapter 15

The Believer

Last week’s episode of The Mandalorian brought back one of my favorite characters, the mouthy sharpshooter named Mayfield. The character was teased in Chapter 14 and returned in all of his sharp tongued glory. In the episode, Din needs the coordinates to Moff Gideon’s ship where Grogu is being held captive. In order to get those coordinates, he needs access to an Imperial terminal. To get to the terminal, he needs Imperial credentials. That’s where Mayfield comes into the picture. As a former Imperial sniper, Mayfield can acquire the information that Din needs. Cara Dune, now a New Republic Marshall, gains the release of Mayfield from the Karthon Chop Fields where he is serving his sentence. Along with Fennec Shand and Boba Fett, the group go to a rhydonium refinery on Morak in order to access an Imperial terminal. A train caper follows when Mayfield and Din commandeer a rhydonium transport in order to get into the refinery but end up biting off more than they can chew. Do they survive? Will Boba Fett, Fennec Shand, and Cara Dune be able to help them? You’ll have to watch the episode in order to find out.

This was an excellent episode. The train caper was fun and reminded me of every old fashioned train fight that you see in classic western films. There are also hints of Speed (1994) in the scene as the transport can’t go too fast or it will trigger the rhydonium and destroy Mayfield, Din, and anybody else in the vicinity. The episode also shows how terrible things were under the New Republic. Sure, things were improving, but the world after the fall of the Empire was still in the early recovery stages and it was ripe for picking by Imperial sympathizers and hangers on. Bill Burr’s Mayfield gives an excellent explanation of how things aren’t necessarily better under the New Republic and an old acquaintance that he runs into later in the episode reveals just how easily the Empire can return to its glory.

Director Rick Famuyiwa, who has directed two other episodes in the series so far, kept things interesting while still expanding the story as a whole. Both Mayfield and Din are given more depth, especially Mayfield, and Famuyiwa uses the camera perfectly while shooting the interactions between the main characters and others. This was a solid episode and definitely worth watching.

Spoilers Below!!!!!

Bill Burr was amazing in this episode. He went from a likeable jerk to a true hero in a matter of minutes and by the end of the episode, Mayfield became possibly more respectable than even Din or Cara Dune (Gina Carano). Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison), Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen), and Cara Dune didn’t factor heavily into this episode and stayed in the background while Pedro Pascal and Burr gave two of the best acting performances in the series so far.

The pirate sequence featuring the transport hijacked by Mayfield and the Mandalorian could have easily become boring, but it managed to stay interesting, surprisingly fresh, and oddly familiar all at the same time. Once the duo entered the refinery, Burr delivered a tour de force performance as he went from cool head to nervous wreck and then lethal killer. Richard Brake did a superb job as Valin Hess, Mayfield’s former commanding officer. He triggers Mayfield’s rage and suffers the consequences. I also loved the interaction between Din and Mayfield whenever the Mando removes his helmet. Mayfield’s show of respect by turning slightly away from Din spoke volumes!

It was also pretty cool to see Slave I firing a seismic charge. It brought back memories from the space battle between Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) and Jango Fett with a young Boba (Daniel Logan) in tow in Attack of the Clones. I also enjoyed the blunt threat that Din delivered to Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito) at the end of the episode. It promises a huge battle between those two and I can’t wait to see it.

Thanks for checking out my review. I’ll have another for the next episode on the next Friday! Let me know in the comments how you felt about this episode and what you hope to see in future installments of the show!

Star Wars The Black Series: Phase I Clone Trooper

From Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones

Despite being my least favorite Star Wars film of all, Attack of the Clones has a few things going for it. There’s the introduction of Jango Fett and a young Boba Fett, the brief appearance of Zam Wesell, and some of the best Obi-Wan Kenobi moments in all of the trilogies as a whole. It’s also the film that gives us our first good look at the Republic’s clone army. Fully CGI, the clones still managed to look cool and were fleshed out with perfection in the animated Clone Wars film and animated series.

Hasbro recently released a ton of new The Black Series figures, and one of them quickly caught my eye: The Phase I Clone Trooper. Sure, there have been other clone figures released in this line, but this one was different. Seeing various reviews of the figure, I decided to take the plunge and grab one of these figures. I’m glad that I did.

The figure comes with excellent articulation for the most part. As is almost always the case with clones and Stormtroopers, though, the armor does hinder the figure’s movement in a few places, most notably at the hip. The shoulder pieces, knee guards, and elbow guards are all soft plastic, though, and don’t get in the way of movement. The head is hindered somewhat when trying to tilt the head up due to the helmet, but overall, I can’t complain at all about the articulation of this figure.

The details on the figure are excellent as well. The paint application is done nicely with the exception of around the back of the knees on my figure. The hands hold the included weapons (DC-15A Blaster Rifle and DC-15S Blaster Carbine) securely and thanks to the awesome articulation, the figure can be posed in a number of cool ways.

I hope that you enjoyed this brief look at the newly released Phase I Clone Trooper from The Black Series by Hasbro. Let me know in the comments if you have this figure and what you think of it. Also, I have quite a few older Black Series figures, and if you’d like me to review any of them, just let me know!

Thanks for reading my post. See you again real soon!

The Mandalorian Season 2 Chapter 14

The Tragedy

In last week’s episode of The Mandalorian, our hero brought young Grogu to the ruins of an ancient temple on Tython. The Mando places Grogu upon the seeing stone in the temple ruins, hoping that the youngster will make a connection with a Jedi willing to train him. Everything is just fine until not one, but two unexpected visitors arrive on the planet.

The episode has a few funny moments between Din Djarin and Grogu. It also strengthens the bond between the duo as their father/son relationship continues to grow. As I mentioned, two unexpected visitors arrive on Tython while Grogu is seated on the seeing stone. The Mando forms an alliance with one of the visitors and this leads to a stand off with the other one. I’ll spoil that surprise later in this post.

The episode was directed by Robert Rodriguez (El Mariachi, The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl, Machete) and his influence can be seen throughout the episode. From certain visitors flying down to the planet to the big shootout/beatdown, parts of this episode scream Rodriguez. There’s also the return of a beloved character from the original trilogy and a few faces introduced during both seasons of The Mandalorian. There’s been a ton of praise for the episode because of this, and I honestly believe that the grand entrance by one returning character clouded the minds of fanboys, making them believe that this is the greatest episode of the series so far.

Well, it’s pretty good, but far from the best episode of the series in my opinion.

Spoilers Below!!!!! You’ve been warned!!!!

Even folks that have absolutely zero interest in the Star Wars franchise know who the returning original trilogy character is in this episode. He was first shown as an observer in the first episode of the second season, but he really gets to shine in Chapter 14. That character is Boba Fett and I have to admit that whenever I saw Slave I cruising down to the surface of Tython, eight year old me jumped for joy. That being said, in typical Rodriguez style, the bulk of the episode was a showcase for action.

Temuera Morrison takes on the role of Boba Fett as an aged bounty hunter who has obviously been through hell. Scarred, slightly overweight, and really, really angry, all Boba Fett wants from Din Djarin is his armor. Din doesn’t believe that the armor belongs to Boba Fett even after Boba explains that it was his father’s armor (Jango Fett, also played by Morrison in the prequel trilogy) and the pair have a brief standoff. Along for the ride with Boba Fett is the returning Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen), who reminds Din that the “asset” has a huge price on its head. Not long after, Imperial forces arrive on Tython and Din, Boba, and Fennec all agree to protect Grogu in return for Boba’s armor. If you’ve ever watched any Robert Rodriguez film, you know what happens next: a massive action scene that fills out the bulk of the episode with an amazing score accompanying it.

Basically, Boba Fett beats the crap out of a ton of stormtroopers and Fennec helps him while Din attempts to break into the Force force field surrounding Grogu. As the battle continues, Din is distracted by the stormtroopers and eventually loses Grogu to four Dark Troopers sent down by Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito) to retrieve him. To top it all off, Gideon has Din’s ship, the Razor Crest, disintegrated on the spot, leaving him only the Beskar spear that he earned in the prior episode. Boba Fett and Fennec Shand agree to help Din save Grogu and the Mando also enlists the aid of Cara Dune (Gina Carano) in order to bust another returning character, Migs Mayfield (Bill Burr), out of prison.

As I’ve already stated, this episode is loaded with action. Unlike the whiz-bang action of earlier episodes, Chapter 14’s action is much more brutal. It gives Boba Fett a proper live action fight sequence and this is primarily due to the direction of Rodriguez, who handles the action scenes perfectly. That being said, all of the character development is found at the very beginning and very end of the episode and that’s sort of a downer in my book. I still enjoyed the episode and it was fun to see Boba Fett whip up on some folks, but the episode felt a bit too “forced” for my tastes. It’s good, but nothing special.

Thanks for reading my post. Let me know how you felt about this episode. Did you get caught up in the Boba Fett action? Maybe I need to lighten up? If so, tell me in the comments!

The Mandalorian Season 2 Chapter 12

The Siege

A speeder bike and TIE Fighter chase, old friends, and some major story developments highlight Chapter 12 of The Mandalorian. In the episode, which picks up immediately after Chapter 11, our hero takes a detour to Nevarro to have his ship repaired in order to deliver the child to Corvus and a Jedi mentioned in the previous episode. On Nevarro, he joins up with a pair of good friends (and one old bounty) in order to take out an old Imperial stronghold that is still active. As expected the Imperial base is much more than it appears and there are plenty of baddies waiting to take out the Mando and his friends.

The episode is full of things that reminded me of classic Star Wars, specifically A New Hope. From a breathtaking chase to bumbling stormtroopers and the deactivation of a massive unit (I’ll go into more detail in the spoiler section), this episode called back to all sorts of sequences from the first Star Wars film.

It also pushed the story along in spades. There are massive developments, hints, and winks at bigger things to come, including events that happen in the latest film trilogy.

Spoilers ahead!!!

The episode sees the return of Cara Dune (Gina Carano) and Greef Karga (Carl Weathers, who also directs). The duo ask the Mando to help them eliminate the Imperial base, the last stronghold of evil on Nevarro. Along for the ride is Mythrol (Horatio Sanz), one of the Mando’s bounties from the first episode, who is working off his debt to Greef. We also get to see Dr. Pershing (Omid Abtahi) in a holo-recording that reveals to the group that Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito) is alive and well and moving along with evil plans for the New Republic.

The episode has an amazing chase sequence featuring Dune, Karga, and Mythrol battling with Biker Scouts and TIE Fighters in a hardened magma canyon that eventually opens up into some flats where the Razor Crest joins the battle. It also features a giant cooling system deactivation that hearkens back to a similar sequence featuring Obi-Wan Kenobi deactivating the Death Star’s tractor beam. No rails, a deep pit to fall into, and eventually stormtroopers showing up across the way flooded me with memories of A New Hope.

The core plot of the series is moved along in leaps and bounds in this episode. It reveals a cloning lab and a massive force being built up by Moff Gideon. In all honesty I expected to see Kylo Ren appear in this episode. There are massive hints to the latest film trilogy as far as the look and feel of the Imperial sequences after the battle on Nevarro. I would love to see Kylo make an appearance and possibly see a few of the Knights of Ren as well.

The episode ends with the return of yet another character from a prior episode. Paul Sun-Hyung Lee returns as Carson Teva, the New Republic X-Wing pilot introduced earlier this season. He has an emotional moment with Cara Dune that hints at her future involvement in the New Republic.

Loaded with character and story development, nods to the classic and new trilogies, and an amazing battle sequence makes this episode my favorite of the new season so far. I have a feeling that The Mandalorian is about to explode in all of the right ways, and I can’t wait to see what happens next!

Thanks for checking out my post. If this episode is any indication, things are about to get insane!