BY MATT TUCK, BLOGGER SUPREME
FB@ The Comic Blog
Mercifully, The Book of Boba Fett came to a close this week, and it managed to pull off the impossible by making the prequel trilogy look like Shakespeare in the park.
NOT WITHOUT MY RANCOR
I wanted so badly to like BOBF, I truly did. The first two episodes were chock full of cliché storytelling devices ripped straight from the corniest of old Westerns. As I did for The Mandalorian, I overlooked as much as I could and tried to enjoy the show. The trouble was that the best moment in the entire season was seeing Boba Fett climb out of the Sarlacc pit. It was downhill from there.
In essence, BOBF was more of a filler series to connect the dots between Clone Wars, The Mandalorian, and Ahsoka than anything else. That explains two entire episodes with hardly a mention of Boba Fett. It also explains how little this show means in the grand scheme. Normally, the star of the show is front and center going into the climax. Not here. Instead, we get two episodes of The Book of Mandalorian that only served as a lead into Mando’s third season.
Now that Boba Fett’s first season has wrapped, we can step back and look at the entire painting. Unfortunately, this picture doesn’t get any prettier. In fact, it may have been painted by an elementary school art class. BOBF is the warped clay ashtray of Star Wars, a creation so ugly only a parent could love it. In this case, not even a massive gunfight with Boba Fett riding a rancor could help this series to the finish line.
It may seem like I’m picking on BOBF, but I promise that I tried to find nice things to say about this particular episode. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much to choose from. Just “big, dumb fun” you might say? Minus the fun, and that’s correct.
As predictable as it may have been, I did enjoy seeing Boba Fett ride into battle on his rancor. With ham-fisted foreshadowing worthy of George Lucas himself, we all knew this was coming. A little cheesy? Sure, but giant monsters as the cavalry never fails to please. I could have lived without the hokey King Kong moment, but more on that shortly. In all, it was a nice visual with good special effects that is destined to be memorialized as toys for years to come. Who am I kidding? I’ll probably buy one.
Finally, after waiting six episodes, Boba Fett reminded us of what made him special in the first place, though it was fleeting. For starters, he kept his helmet on most of the show, which he should have done the vast majority of the series. Seeing him jet through the air, firing missiles and lasers was much closer to what many fans thought the show would give them.
Grogu was cute as always, though the puppet mannerisms got old fast. When he arrived on Tatooine, it is a feel-good moment knowing that he chose Din Djarin over Luke Skywalker (and that probably is why he’s such a cranky old curmudgeon in Last Jedi; getting rejected by Yoda baby is a shot to the self esteem, for sure). How he learned to pilot an X-Wing as basically a 50-year-old toddler is a plot hole the size of Manhattan, but let’s just ignore it and enjoy the moment.
THE BAD AND THE CRINGEY
Now that we can look at the whole Book of Boba Fett, it is clear that this was a glorified kids’ show. Need proof? Look no further than the fact that this entire episode was obviously meant to feel like a round of Star Wars: Battlefront. No doubt, BOBF was subtly aimed at the tween crowd but with enough nostalgia and guest appearances to reel in the adults. The problem is that it lacked substance. Take away the smoke and mirrors - in this case, a handful of violent-yet-bloodless death scenes - and you’re left with a simple, cliché plot void of any real twists and turns. The acting was abysmal, the fight scenes bland, and the best (I use that term loosely) episode had more filler than substance with half the episode taken up by the Mandalorian’s build-the-spaceship montage that served no real purpose. In that sense, it fit perfectly into an entire series that also served no real purpose.
The seventh episode doubled down on the cringe factor. If it had been purposely cringey in a Peacemaker type of way, it might have been funny. But this was just bad. The dialogue could have been written by second graders with all its corny Western lines. The only thing missing was the old “this town ain’t big enough for the both of us.” The cheesiest lines were reserved for Peli Motto, and that’s really saying something. Granted, she was a bit over the top in The Mandalorian, but Episode Seven made her simply unbearable. She may rival Jar Jar Binks as Star Wars’ most annoying character, a feat once thought unattainable.
At least I can say that the BOBF creative team was fully committed to lowering the bar throughout the episode. When Boba Fett loses control of the rancor, it goes on the rampage. Just when I thought this episode couldn’t get any more corny, the rancor climbs a tower and hangs off the side with one hand in a totally unnecessary and cringey King Kong moment.
SO MUCH FOR CAD BANE
I hope you didn’t spend too much on those Cad Bane because he may be dead now. We finally got that Cad/Boba Fett showdown that has been building since Clone Wars. There have been complaints about Cad’s CGI, but I thought he looked good. Although he came across like a live-action Rattlesnake Jake from Rango, the sneer that revealed the jagged, predatory teeth enhanced his mystique. Sure, he had a distinct cheesy cowboy vibe that Dave Filoni and Jon Favreau have overdone at this point, but he was still interesting.
Since last week, his early comic appearances have been on fire. The prices have been inflating for Darth Maul #2 and Darth Maul #3, and the high grades have quickly reached the ridiculous phase. That’s what happens when a fan favorite enters the live-action realm, and it won’t change anytime soon. The risky part is what the showrunners have in store for that specific character. In this case, the prognosis may not be so good.
So Boba and Cad have their corny high noon gunfight in the dusty street, which we all knew was coming. Considering the level of sheer cringe BOBF has subjected us to from the word go, this was light. Anyway, they traded shots, and just when Cad had it won, the coldblooded killer decided to waste time with some bad dialogue. Wouldn’t you know that Cad’s monolog gave Boba enough time to mount an offensive. After a dramatic pause, he stabs Cad with his handmade Tusken staff. Just like that, those Cad Bane keys began to deflate.
For all you Cad Bane investors out there, the show left a window open. There was some sort of Star Wars-y blinking monitor on Cad’s chest that kept flashing after we’re meant to assume he died. This could be a clue that he’s not actually dead, so there’s still hope for his return in a future series.
CHANGE YOUR NAME TO BEN, AND NO ONE WILL KNOW IT’S YOU
Going into BOBF, I think we all had such high hopes. Maybe Temeura Morrison was a little old to be playing Boba Fett, but he came across well in those episodes of The Mandalorian. The post-credits scene for the season two finale made us believe we would see a gritty, no-holds-barred intergalactic crime action series. Sadly, we got anything but that. Next up on the Star Wars platter is Kenobi with Ewan McGregor returning to the role, which gives me hope. Then again, I also had high hopes for BOBF, and look how that turned out. I’m afraid we may be in for another cliché kids show.
Matt Tuck is the author of the novel, Lost Bones of the Dead. He is a professional writer, avid comic collector, former teacher, and the Blogger Supreme. You can follow him on his Facebook page, The Comic Blog, or on Instagram at matt.tuck.writer.