Obi-Wan Kenobi Review: Ewan McGregor’s Fight Scenes Are Really Exciting | Television

EITHERne of the first scenes of the new Disney+ series, Obi-Wan Kenobi, shows the characters working as slaves in the desert, earning a pittance scraping scraps of flesh from a giant long-dead corpse. Is this a complete coincidence, or someone in Disney+ he’s a bit more self-aware than he should be.

Because, to continue the meat metaphor for a moment, Obi-Wan Kenobi is connective tissue. The two good stories about him, how he came to train the boy who would be Darth Vader and later how Vader killed him, were told decades ago. Chronologically, this new series falls somewhere in the middle. Kenobi left Anakin Skywalker for dead a decade ago, and realistically, that’s another decade before the events of Star Wars: A New Hope.

As such, the Obi-Wan we meet here doesn’t have much to do. He cuts meat during the day, he fights with Jawa at night, and at night he dreams exclusively in flashbacks from Episodes I-III. It is quite possible that we would all have passed our days perfectly decently without seeing this chapter of his life.

But that is the way of super-franchising. Post-Lucas Star Wars exists almost exclusively to pump up the volume on fine porridge, joining various dots that didn’t need to be joined, much to the delight of a rapidly aging fanbase. And here it is. Consider this Obi-Wan Kenobi: The Surprisingly Unnecessary Years.

The story goes that this series began as a movie. but once the mandalorian Coming out of nowhere, reversing what seemed like a terminal theatrical decline, the project went off the rails and ended up on television. And, at times, it shows. Especially in the opening episode, scenes drag on far longer than they need to, bogging down in exposition that could have been chewed much more elegantly.

However, once Obi-Wan Kenobi begins to pick up steam, something miraculous happens. The series actually begins to justify his very existence. Two episodes out of six were released today, so we’re a third of the way through the entire series, and so far the series seems to be kind of intergalactic. john wick. Kenobi is on the run, pursued by a combination of hired mercenaries and Vader’s forces, while trying to protect a young Princess Leia in the process.

And when the show leans more into this premise, it works beautifully. Obi-Wan has spent 10 years ignoring his Jedi powers, and as a result, all of his fight scenes have jaw-dropping tangibility. Ewan McGregor he spends much of these first two episodes pummeling the aliens, elbowing them in the face, and performing WWE-style clotheslines on their necks. Inevitably, the mysticism will return later, but for now, it’s genuinely exciting to see this strange part-Jedi, part-Jack Bauer hybrid in action.

In the nearly 20 years since he last played Obi-Wan, McGregor has also found a way to overcome his biggest flaw; trying to act natural while he uses the full weight of all of Alec Guinness’s mannerisms. In the prequel series, they often overwhelmed McGregor’s performance, but here he uses them lightly, letting some of his natural charisma seep through.

It helps that he also has a worthy enemy. Reva, played by Moses Ingram, is an Imperial Inquisitor (translation: Jedi hunter) who has very little time for the petty bureaucracy of the Galactic Empire. As his superiors fret and worry about obeying the law to the letter, she throws knives at the heads of innocent strangers and threatens to kill entire families. She is impulsive and impetuous and makes a beeline for Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Also of note is Kumail Nanjiani, who plays something of a charming con artist with a flare that helps temper the show’s often heavy tone. He’s the kind of character and performance that would usually deserve his own spin-off, even if he didn’t exist in the modern world of Star Wars, where every on-screen character is almost guaranteed an entire origin series for him. history.

And that goes for Obi-Wan Kenobi as well. Did you have to make it? No. Is its existence a sign of creative exhaustion? Probably. But does she make the most of his thankless job? Fortunately, he does.

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