A Spoiler-Free Review of the Mandalorian Premier
After years of buying up valuable entertainment properties, Disney finally became ready to launch its own streaming media service to compete with the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime. I was a “founder,” having signed up before the November 12th launch date. I subscribed for only one reason: The Mandalorian.
The Mandalorian is the first ever live action Star Wars TV series and it’s available exclusively on the new Disney Plus streaming platform.
I’m a huge Star Wars fan and even though I was in some ways disappointed by Rian Johnson’s latest installment to the franchise, The Last Jedi, I’m still optimistic that Lucasfilm can produce good content in the Disney era. Previews I’ve seen of the Mandalorian looked really intriguing, like a Spaghetti Western version of Star Wars on the frontier, along the lines of Joss Whedon’s Firefly (a series with great potential sadly cut short).
Disney Plus launched early Tuesday morning with some platform-specific glitches and broader service interruptions and the first installment of the Mandalorian was part of its initial offering of over 5,000 programs and movies.
I haven’t had cable TV for a couple years and get all of my video infotainment via Roku televisions (my 65″ 4k Roku TV was less than $600) and streaming services like Amazon and Netflix. I pay $60 per month for high-speed internet and $12.99 for Amazon Prime which aside from streaming thousands of TV shows and movies also provides free shipping for almost all of my Amazon purchases. Totally worth it. I have Netflix, but don’t pay for it, since T-Mobile foots that bill for me. So, my total home entertainment outlay is about $73 per month (I was paying over $200 per month for internet and cable TV before). I didn’t exactly agonize over adding Disney Plus to my lineup. It’s only $6.99 per month and there is a 7-day free trial period. If the Mandalorian sucked, I could cancel and be out exactly nothing.
I installed the Disney Plus app on my TVs and though, with the at-launch glitches, some menus were not yet functioning right with my Roku, I was happily still able to stream the Mandalorian.
Is it worth it?
Heck yeah, it’s worth it!
The Mandalorian follows the hard and dusty life of a bounty hunter in the outer rim of a post-Imperial galaxy.
I was instantly transported, but I cringed at a couple too-obvious callbacks to earlier Star Wars installments. They felt “forced” and out of place, like the very recognizable sound effect of the Millennium Falcon’s hyperdrive failing that was slapped onto to a different spaceship for a different reason. That minor complaint aside, the whole 40 minute debut of the Mandalorian was thoroughly entertaining.
It’s recognizably and comfortably Star Wars, even though the incidental music breaks from the orchestral tradition of John Williams’ scores. While the title character starts out as a laconic “dangerous loner” cliché, it doesn’t take long for him to become a unique and interesting human character in his own right, even though his face is concealed behind a mask for the entire episode.
The setup for the series premise is well executed without the exposition feeling like info-dump. The visuals are up to the standard fans would expect from a Star Wars film. There were humorous moments, but not over-the-top, like I felt was a problem with the Last Jedi. The story hooked me in with some cool intrigue and really grabbed my interest in seeing what happens next week with a surprising reveal at the end.
I’d say it’s worth paying $6.99 a month just to watch the Mandalorian, but, of course, Disney Plus offers so much more, with the complete Star Wars catalog, Marvel super hero films, decades of Disney productions and more, I found other shows I wanted to watch right away. Time to catch up on the Avengers!
Some Ways to watch the Mandalorian on Disney Plus
You can also watch on your computers, mobile devices and tablets with your Disney Plus subscription.