REVIEW: Star Wars Resistance S1E1-2 “The Recruit”

Star Wars Resistance is the newest addition by Lucasfilm animation to everyone’s favorite galaxy far, far away. The series is set decades after the events of Return of the Jedi and explores the rise of the growing threat that is the First Order six months prior to the events of The Force Awakens.

The show is a family friendly experience which explores the deeper reaches of the Star Wars universe. Star Wars Resistance follows Kazuda Xiono, a New Republic pilot who joins the Resistance as a spy after he’s saved from a First Order tie fighter by the one and only Poe Dameron. Our young protagonist is joined by BB-8 on his mission to find out if there are First Order sympathizers on the Colossus, a refueling station located on the planet Castilon.

I enjoyed the first episode a lot. In terms of the animated TV shows, it has the strongest opening compared to Clone Wars and Rebels. This show, unlike the others, isn’t focused around force users. Instead, we get a more complete look at the “hive of scum and villainy” side of Star Wars. I think the series being heavily centered around pilots and races will allow a creative way to exploit the storytelling potential these things can provide. One of the strengths of the show is the perspective of regular people such as rebels, soldiers, and the people on the ground floor. This show really embraces that focuses its attention on the regular riff raff of cantinas.

The story has a simple premise, making it very easy for audiences of all ages to follow. That being said, the spy plotline running parallel to the racing aspect of the show will create an interesting dynamic and add some complexity and depth to the plot. The contrast of both storylines gives off a back and forth in tone, keeping most elements light for young viewers to enjoy while allowing for a slightly darker tone at times. So far, the show has kept a generally light point of view and mixed it up with a good bit of humor, superbly catering to its target audience. At times, the humor got a little over the top for my taste, but that might be my only criticism on that front.

Within this hour-long premiere, a large and diverse cast of characters were introduced. This gives the show a good opportunity to explore many different avenues as time progresses. The downside is that, apart from Kaz, Jarek, and Tam, most characters came off as two-dimensional because of their limited screen time. Kaz’s characterization was the strongest point of Star Wars Resistance, especially his father. He has this drive to help yet he is held back by his father’s aspirations for him. The other two members of Team Fireball which were interesting to me were Jarek, since he seems to act as a sort of father figure, and Tam who despite her short amount of screen time exposed a very explosive personality. Jarek caught my eye because of his mysterious motives behind not wanting to get involved with the entire spy ordeal. Tam, as mentioned earlier, displayed a strong character with loads of potential. I hope she will be further developed as the series moves along. Neeku is another character worth mentioning – he might not have had the biggest role to play but acted as comic relief. The best qualifier I would have for the character is “Jar Jar done right.” We are also joined by fans’ second most beloved droid BB-8 on this adventure, who continues to display a distinct personality to be the new generation’s R2-D2. Oscar Issac guest-stars and reprises his role as Poe Dameron to stunning perfection once again.

The animation style was different from the other Star Wars shows. It was actually inspired by Japanese anime and had a more simplistic style than Rebels or Clone Wars, which gave off a unique and authentic feel to the show. Personally, I enjoyed the animation: it was fluid and the space battle and race sequences showcased the strength of the animation style.  I was on board with the overall artistic direction, especially whenever shots of Colossus were involved, leading to astounding cinematography. One example of this is near the end when Kaz is sitting in the setting sun. The colors were crisp and gave off this beautiful vibe which makes me hopeful for the future of the show. There’s also a great use of shadows, which deepens the viewing experience and gives the show a visual aesthetic that I strongly enjoyed.

Overall, I was anticipating this show highly and was not disappointed. It had good characterization and an intriguing plot. Some of the humor might not have hit home with me and the number of characters introduced might have been ambitious for the focus they received, but these elements don’t sour the experience of Star Wars Resistance. I would recommend this for fans of the extended universe both new and old. It’s an interesting segue between the original trilogy and the current sequel trilogy.

Verdict: 4.5 out of 5 Gorgs.

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Vincent is Canadian and a raving Cyclops apologist and a lover of all things geek Marvel and Star Wars are his specialty. He is well versed in DC, Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings. He's always wanted to be a writer and Do You Even Comic Book? is his first foray into that adventure.

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