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TV Review: The Mandalorian S2E4 “Chapter 12: The Siege”

 THE MANDALORIAN S2E4 "CHAPTER 12: THE SIEGE"

Mando checks in with some old friends, The Child heads to (pre) school, there’s a couple twists on some old Star Wars set pieces, and honestly, everyone ends up in worse trouble in The Mandalorian Season 2, Episode 4 ” Chapter 12: The Siege“, written by Jon Favreau and directed by Carl Weathers. With its planet/adventure of the week plot structure, The Mandalorian doesn’t have an ensemble cast, but it does have a couple of interesting recurring guest actors. Weathers and Favreau use them nicely in this episode and also provide more commentary on the post-fall of the Empire universe as the New Republic struggles to connect with the Outer Rim (Even though its greatest hero is from there!) and the remnants of the Empire engage in a very Star Wars form of eugenics to try to get back in power.

In this episode, Mando goes to the planet Navaro (Where the pilot and a bit of the previous season took place.) to finally get the Razor Crest repaired and travel to Corvus to meet the last scion of the Jedi, Ahsoka Tano. These days, Navaro is pretty law abiding thanks to Marshal Cara Dune (Notable transphobe, anti-masker and general conspiracy theorist Gina Carano) and Magistrate Greef Karga (Weathers). There’s a school, commerce, and Karga has even employed former Mando bounty, Mythrol (Horatio Sanz) as his accountant to work of his debts. (Think Suicide Squad, but number crunching.) However, on the other side of the planet, there’s an Imperial base with a lot of heavy weaponry, and while Mando is waiting for his ship to be fixed, Dune and Karga rope him into blowing its reactor and bringing peace to the planet with Mythrol acting as hacker, lockpick, and getaway driver.

Mythrol’s getaway driver status is short lived when the team discovers that the base isn’t your run of a mill, but a lab where Imperial scientists are running very unethical tests and experiments on subjects using The Child’s blood. However, they’ve run out and need to recapture him again so this episode becomes a lot more complicated than blowing up a base over a lava pit and going home. As soon as Mando hears The Child is in danger, he jets off to protect him while Dune, Karga, and Mythrol end up in a speeder chase in the Star Wars equivalent of a Ford F-150. You can feel Weathers and cinematographer Matthew Jensen‘s glee in this sequence, which goes full Grand Theft Auto and escalates to TIE fighters and wraps up in a very A New Hope way.

My favorite part of “The Siege” was the adrenaline-filled third act where Imperial scout troopers actually behaved cleverly for once and may have actually gotten the upper hand if they weren’t so fanatical. (See last episode’s cyanide pill popping.) However, Carl Weathers and Jon Favreau spend the first bit of the episode showing the change and growth that Mando, Dune, Karga, and even Mythrol have gone through since last season. Dune has gone from a mercenary and prize fighter to a sheriff, who can keep the peace with her blaster and physical combat skills while Karga is back to his old respected government job ways instead of running numbers and bounties. However, he’s got a little bit of edge as evidenced by making Mythrol take all the big risks during the Imperial Base caper. Mythrol is still cowardly and wants to make an extra buck, but his new job keeps him in line. Dune and Karga’s goals have gone from trying to make a buck and forget about their more traditionally noble or heroic pasts to helping others and creating a safe “green zone” on where folks can live a life free from New Republic policing and bureaucracy and Imperial fascism.

And Mando has changed the most. He’s gone from treating the Child like a bundle, nuisance, or McGuffin to straight up treating him like a son. For example, in the beginning of “The Siege”, Mando tries to walk The Child through fixing something on Razor Crest because the little cutie can fit in tight spaces. However, this is a little advanced for him, and honestly, Mando should have just let him do the sci-fi western equivalent of holding the flashlight. Weathers and Favreau even riff on the dread “first day of school” when Karga tells Mando to drop him off at the classroom while they go on their mission. Weathers inserts a lingering shot of him looking away as The Child immediately gets into mischief and uses The Force to steal a classmate’s snack. Mando’s motivation is keeping The Child safe, happy, and hopefully one day, reconnected with others like him. This is a hell of a thing to build a TV show around and demonstrates why so many folks have emotionally connected with The Mandalorian.

 THE MANDALORIAN S2E4 "CHAPTER 12: THE SIEGE"

The Mandalorian Season 2 continues to be in conversation with previous iterations of Star Wars, and after last week’s detour to Clone Wars and Rebels, we’re back to the original trilogy. Carl Weathers and Jon Favreau go full fanboy (But not in a toxic way.) and insert in all kinds of goodies like the aforementioned speeder bike chase, blowing up a reactor a la Endor, the classic gunner heads up display used in Vader’s TIE fighter and the Millennium Falcon, and in a touching moment even though Carano doesn’t quite sell the emotion, Alderaan. The inclusion of these elements create a nostalgic reaction in viewers that helps some of the themes that Favreau is exploring go down easier like the Rebels transformation into New Republic beat cops. I mean, we go from Han Solo and Wedge Antilles to some protocol spouting guy in an orange jacket using the death of all of Dune’s friends and relatives on Alderaan to recruit to “join the force”. I find the politics and tension of this era of Star Wars history really fascinating, especially when Favreau gives us this boots on the ground view although the information about Mandalorians is interesting too and places Mando in a larger context beyond “lone badass with a soft spot for a cute, occasionally bratty kid.”

“Chapter 12: The Siege” has a tense chase scene, a pleasant performance from Carl Weathers as Greef Karga and continues to show the bond between Mando and The Child in a sweet, occasionally funny way as it’s interesting to see Pedro Pascal change his body language and movements from sharing some soup with him to gunning down stormtroopers and pulling off crazy maneuvers in good-as-new Razor Crest. However, Jon Favreau undercuts this fancy flying and uses the last moments of the episode to have Giancarlo Esposito’s Moff Gideon raise this season’s stakes with a slight eyebrow movement. He’s a great villain, Mando knows he’s alive now, and I can’t wait for their rematch down the road.

Overall Verdict: 8.4

Deadpool Comes to Blu-ray and DVD May 10th

Deadpool is coming to Blu-ray and DVD on May 10th (though digital sooner) with lots of extras.

Hold onto your chimichangas, folks. From the studio that brought you all 3 Taken films comes Deadpool, the block-busting, fourth-wall-breaking masterpiece about Marvel Comics’ sexiest anti-hero: me! Go deep inside (he loves that) his origin story…typical stuff…rogue experiment, accelerated healing powers, horrible disfigurement, red spandex, imminent revenge. Directed by overpaid tool Tim Miller, and starring God’s perfect idiot Ryan Reynolds, Ed Skrein, Morena Baccarin, T.J. Miller and Gina Carano, Deadpool is a giddy slice of awesomeness packed with more twists than my enemies’ intestines and more action than prom night. Amazeballs!

Check out the extras below!

Deadpool 2

Movie Review: Deadpool

deadpool posterThe Merc with a Mouth finally comes to the big screen in Deadpool, based on the over saturated Marvel Comics character created by Rob Liefeld and given personality by Fabian Nicieza and later Joe Kelly.

How do I describe the 1 hour and 48 minutes? Take a Loony Tunes cartoon, throw some spandex, 80s action films, swear words, lots of over the top violence, and then have it do a few lines of coke, mix it all up, and you have Deadpool.

The story of the film isn’t anything special. Wade Wilson, played by Ryan Reynolds, undergoes a process in hopes to cure his cancer. The process is much more than it seems and turns him in to Deadpool. From there, it’s a revenge tale, that for some reason has some X-Men thrown in.

The film is completely on Reynolds shoulders, which makes sense since the actor has spent about a decade trying to make the film happen. If you enjoy is spins in Van Wilder, or Blade Trinity, the motor mouthed smart ass with a line for everything, you’ll enjoy his performance. It’s funny, it’s at times offensive, and it’s pretty quick witted. The film is one I want to see the out takes, because if this is what was left in, I can’t imagine what was left out and it’s pretty clear a lot of the lines were improvised.

The action for the film is over the top like expected, and there were things I had never seen before in a film, so it absolutely has that going for it. It’s a film that looks fantastic, using slow motion at just the right moments to emphasize the ludicrous visuals we see on the screen.

But where’s Deadpool without his supporting cast? T.J. Miller as Weasel is very entertaining, and much more subdued than I expected. Morena Baccarin as Wade’s love interest Vanessa is charming in the scenes she’s in, but she does little other than being a plot device, though she does give as much as she takes when it comes to quips. Leslie Uggams as Blind Al feels like she comes out of nowhere and is rather underused.

Where the movie fails is generally in its bad guys and guest stars. Ed Skrein as Ajax and Gina Carano as Angel Dust are the two bad guys and it’s never quite clear who they’re working for or the bigger picture. It’s all mentioned, but it’s rather silly, and feels like a set-up to just watch Deadpool kill people and be a smart ass. There’s no mention of Weapon X, which is a let down, though it can all easily be put in there in sequels if need be. Stefan Kapicic as Colossus just feels weird in the film and there’s clearly back story hinted at (can you say prequel?). The exception to all this is Brianna Hildebrand as Negasonic Teenage Warhead. Can we get more of her please? She stole the show in each scene she’s in.

Where the film truly wins is its not giving a fuck attitude. It breaks the fourth wall regularly and Reynolds has no issue with picking on himself and his past film work, which is great to see. The film as a whole picks on itself, its studio, its director, actors, the CGI, nothing is sacred and everything is game. A continuing joke is Reynolds himself, showing off the actors willingness to take punches as much as he can give them.

I went in expecting the worst, and came out wanting more. The film isn’t for kids, and while I find Deadpool beyond irritating in comics, here he’s beyond enjoyable. And it’s all due to Reynolds. He nails it, and the film nails it, in every way there is. If you found the marketing leading up to the film funny. If you want your superheroes a bit more violent, with a bit more swear words, and definitely not for kids, Deadpool is for you.

Overall Rating: 8.1

Deadpool Red Band Trailer

The above is the Red Band trailer. Below is the non Red Band trailer.

Based upon Marvel Comics’ most unconventional anti-hero, Deadpool tells the origin story of former Special Forces operative turned mercenary Wade Wilson, who after being subjected to a rogue experiment that leaves him with accelerated healing powers, adopts the alter ego Deadpool. Armed with his new abilities and a dark, twisted sense of humor, Deadpool hunts down the man who nearly destroyed his life.

The film stars Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, Ed Skrein, T.J. Miller, Gina Carano, and Brianna Hildebra.

Gina Carano Joins Deadpool

gina-caranoThe Hollywood Reporter has reported that Gina Carano has joined the cast of the upcoming Deadpool film. The former MMA fighter and actress will join Ryan Reynolds who stars in the title role. She’ll be playing the character Angel Dust.

The character Angel Dust is a member of the band of mutant outcasts the Morlocks. Her power is to chemically supercharge her adrenaline levels which grants her superhuman strength.

Also in the movie is T.J. Miller who is bringing “comedic releif” in an undisclosed role. That’s rather odd, as Deadpool is a pretty comedic character. Also rumored to show up is Colossus.

The film is being directed by Tim Miller.

Around the Tubes

Day one of Gen Con was fantastic. Here’s on to day two!

Around the Tubes

New York Times – Dancer Injured During ‘Spider-Man’ Performance – Another one!?

ICv2 – Warhammer: Diskwars – Hoping to get a demo of it.

CBR – Vertigo’s “The Unwritten” Relaunches in January with New #1 – Ok then.

The Mary Sue – Gina Carano Wants A Wonder Woman Movie, And She Wants It Done Right – She might be able to pull it off.

 

Around the Tubes Reviews

Comic Vine – Avengers Arena #13

Comic Vine – Harbinger #15

CBR – Justice League of America #7

Comic Vine – Justice League of America #7

Comic Vine – Nightwing #23

Talking Comics – Saga #13

Talking Comics – Thor: God of Thunder #11

Comic Vine – Uncanny X-Force #10

Comic Vine – Uncanny X-Men #10

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Thursday night has come and gone at San Diego Comic-Con, but the fun is just beginning. Hit us up with questions on Twitter or if you want to say “hi.” And stick around all day for news from the convention!

Around the Tubes

Bleeding Cool – The Simpsons And Family Guy Are Going To Cross Over Properly – This could be interesting. The passing of a torch?

Bleeding Cool – Justin Jordan Walks Off Superboy – Huh.

MTV Geek – Harrison Ford Responds To Orson Scott Card: ‘Humanity Has Won’ – Nice response.

CBR Rob Liefeld & Gina Carano Bringing “Avengelyne” to Big ScreenCould be cool.