Serial Consumer celebrates and interrogates Evan’s relationship to franchised media and his addiction to purchasing its licensed products.
I have mixed feelings about Part IV of Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi. To recap: I loved Part I and Part II but found Part III lacking the gravitas and craftsmanship its continuity-bending rematch deserved. Part IV definitely feels too cheap. At one point, two clearly CGI stormtroopers cross the screen, seemingly half-rendered. The final moments with Rebels flying T-47 airspeeders into Fortress Inquisitorious look like something out of 1995’s Rebel Assault II: The Hidden Empire. Let’s not even talk too deeply about Obi-Wan being chased by a goopy-looking wall of water. I can’t believe that something like Obi-Wan Kenobi, which has had all the development time and money in the world and is easily the gem of Disney+’s upcoming slate, looks so unfinished.
The scripts to these last two episodes feel much the same way, although I mind it less with Part IV. Maybe because it’s a short, sweet action episode featuring more great acting by Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan and Vivien Lyra Blair as Leia. The beats they hit as characters don’t entirely land for me, but I like both of them and find them a pleasure to watch.
It’s great to see Obi-Wan going on a mission and infiltrating an Imperial base even though we’ve seen this type of story too many times in Star Wars. I’m glad he uses the lightsaber and the Force more as this series builds to him once again besting Darth Vader in single combat. There are times where this episode captured the serial energy of a decent episode of Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
We’re introduced to a new rebel group, led by Roken (O’Shea Jackson Jr.), who are woefully underdeveloped for the story they’re given. Roken’s wife was Force-sensitive and stolen by the Inquisitors, which I guess is probably going to play into the Grogu plot started on the Mando side of things? I don’t know. The Inquisitors need a bit more oomph to their story. It was odd to remove the Grand Inquisitor from the board so quickly without any real reason.
I think Darth Vader suffers the most from the show’s relative lack of budget. In the Original Trilogy, Vader was imposing and scary. Here, he’s a guy in a suit. He moves too quickly, too naturally. That’s a nitpick, but it bothers me.
Obi-Wan Kenobi has the structure of a great story and a heart driven by two stellar lead performances. I’m sad it isn’t coming together quite the way I’d hoped, but it’s at least better than The Book of Boba Fett. Thus far, this show still feels additive to the canon as a whole, and I’m looking forward to seeing how it resolves.