The Book of Boba Fett continues to wallow in the stagnant waters of nostalgia but at least this week had the good grace to actually include one scene with the titular character. At this point, I genuinely don’t know how to feel about Star Wars’ second live-action TV series. I like everything I see onscreen, but one never escapes the feeling while watching the show that they’re under the influence of a malign Jedi mind trick—warning spoilers to follow.
The whole endeavour now seems to be built on a foundation of blatant fan service designed to trigger the pleasure centres of the human brain, and the irritating thing is it works. I literally gasped when I saw R2D2, I pointed at the screen when Luke returned, and god help me; I whispered to myself, “that’s Yoda’s lightsaber” at the end of the episode.
I like these things. They’re part of my childhood, and seeing them on the small screen takes me back to a simpler time when liking Star Wars was part of how I defined my personality. But the endorphin high of seeing a silver tube that once belonged to a rubber puppet isn’t quite enough to blind me to the fact this all feels very processed, like watching a really expensive advert for action figures or a lunch box.
There’s a saying in my house: “Hey, look, it’s the thing I like.” My partner and I say it whenever a show indulges in some blatant nostalgia bait, and that’s all this show seems to have going for it, fan service. At this point, it’s just a catwalk of characters who we like more than Boba Fett. The whole thing feels so blatantly corporate and desperate, and worst of all, it’s not serving the story.
Say what you want about Spider-Man: No Way Home, at last, bringing back Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield served the plot. How does Grogu choosing between becoming a Jedi or a Mandalorian serve the plot of Boba Fett? The answer seems to be, ‘Who cares? You like Baby Yoda, don’t you? Enjoy your swill and don’t forget to buy the Grogu cup’.
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I’m just tired of it. I know I sound like a grump, and I’m sure there are people who look past the flaws in Boba Fett and just enjoy it as a fun Star Wars sci-fi series, but I can’t. The Book of Boba Fett had great potential; it could have shown us the grimy underbelly of the Star Wars galaxy. Instead, it seems to lack confidence in its main conceit and desperately tries to pad its run time with old things that you like.
The worst thing is, though, there’s still a kernel of a fantastic show here. We see the Pykes firebomb a cantina under Boba’s control in this episode. Of everything in this chapter (and there was a lot of stuff I liked in this episode), this is the scene that stayed with me because it was something I hadn’t seen in Star Wars before, a brutal gangland attack.
It was like something from The Godfather or Scarface; this is what this show could have been if they’d just had a bit more faith in their audience to not need the familiar tropes and cliches of Star Wars.
I will praise The Book of Boba Fett as well for finally introducing some stakes. The apparent death of Timmy Olyphant’s Cobb Vanth really impressed me; sure, he’s not an important character, but he’s a popular one and the willingness to sacrifice a character who could potentially have a long line of action figures in his future to big up a villain deserves some praise.
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Also, that entire sequence with Cad Bane was incredible and frustratingly it again shows how good this series could have been if it had the courage of its convictions.
It’s worth adding that CGI Luke looked good and looked less creepy than he did in the Mando season 2 finale. Lucasfilm is clearly confident in the tech that de-ages Hamill, that said it’s a case of diminishing returns with bringing back Luke. Once is cool, twice is fine, but if you do a few more times fans are probably going to see it coming.
I’m honestly really conflicted on this episode. It was another fun Star Wars adventure that had me really entertained. But is it a good episode of Boba Fett? Do I even care anymore?
I could score it anywhere between two stars and four stars so I’ll settle on a three. It was good but The Book of Boba Fett is like opening a tin of baked beans and finding jam inside. I like jam and I can eat it on toast, but I wanted beans.
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We’ve one episode left of Boba Fett at this point, and I pray that we remember who this show is about. That means we stop setting up spin-offs and focus on the bounty hunter we all came here to see. He’s supposed to be one of the most dangerous Star Wars characters. Let’s finally prove it. Or you know we could just do Mandalorian season 3 episode 3?