News

The Mandalorian First Reviews: Episode One Delivers a Thoroughly Satisfying Star Wars Experience

Jon Favreau's space Western kicks off with a bang — bang — bang.

by | November 12, 2019 | Comments

The Mandalorian character poster (Disney+)

Highly-anticipated live-action Star Wars series The Mandalorian has finally arrived on Disney+ wowing fans and critics alike — those who were able to watch it anyway. The streaming service experienced some technical difficulties when it first went live, but once viewers were able to get through, the love started pouring in on social media.

Starring Pedro Pascal (Game of Thrones) as the titular bounty hunter, the series was created by Jon Favreau (Iron Man), who serves as showrunner, and also stars Gina Carano, Carl WeathersWerner HerzogNick NolteEmily SwallowTaika Waititi, Giancarlo EspositoOmid Abtahi, and Ming-Na Wen. Episode one was directed by Dave Filoni.

Critics weren’t given advance screeners for the series, so many of them reported on their reporting, noting that they rose early to watch episode one and then file their reviews.

Here’s what the sleepy critics are saying about episode 1 of The Mandalorian.



IS IT GOOD STAR WARS?

This is Star Wars heaven. — Germain Lussier, io9.com

Casual viewers and superfans alike need not despair over The Mandalorian’s many departures; despite its glossy and alien appearance, the first episode suggests the show is vintage Star Wars through and through. — Jeva Lange, The Week

Less concerned with capturing the magic of Star Wars than roughing it up a bit. Even when The Mandalorian lags, its swerve from a more expected route makes it more intriguing as an entryway into a galaxy far, far away. — Caroline Framke, Variety

Happily, the show’s brisk, handsomely produced 39-minute premiere is a great deal of fun, giving fans reason to have a good feeling about this. — Brian Lowry, CNN.com

The Mandalorian may not be risky… but its commitment to simplicity works to its advantage, capturing the spirit of the original series with a good amount of monsters, shootings, and adventures. [Full Review in Spanish] — Jorge Loser, Espinof

A welcome return to ‘old school’ Star Wars style, that I loved watching and was left wanting more. [Full review in Spanish] — Jorge Loser, Espinof

Not that this detracts from the charm of a series that has started in relatively low key fashion but seems certain to leave everyone, and not just Star Wars ultra-diehards, wanting more. — Ed Power, Daily Telegraph (UK)

“The Mandalorian” pulls no punches. It’s “Star Wars”/Disney right down to its weird sand creatures and blighted outposts, and a safe-but-entertaining start for the media giant’s exploratory mission into a largely untamed universe. — Lorraine Ali, Los Angeles Times

The Mandalorian is everything fans could have wanted from a live-action Star Wars TV show and with a killer performance from Pedro Pascal, it’s already clear this is going to be appointment viewing each week. — Josh Wilding, ComicBookMovie.com

The next challenge: making it feel like Star Wars. Based on its first episode, The Mandalorian rises to that one, too, digging into the seedy underbelly glimpsed in Episode IV‘s cantina scene and throughout Rogue One. — Keith Phipps, New York Magazine/Vulture

The Mandalorian, more than anything Disney has produced outside of Rogue One, actually feels like Star Wars. — Joshua Tyler, Giant Freakin Robot

The Mandalorian is inherently Star Wars, especially when it isn’t. It’s a George Lucas idea with the flair of J.J. Abrams and the bold confidence of Rian Johnson. It’s a unifying rally cry for a franchise that needs it most. — Charlie Ridgely, ComicBook.com


DOES THE CAST DELIVER?

Cara Dune (Gina Carano) in Lucasfilm’s THE MANDALORIAN.

(Photo by Disney+)

At least for a while, the Mandalorian and IG-11 form a bantering, gunfighting duo as the pilot begins aggressively aping Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid, which is about as good a thing to echo as I can imagine. — Dan Fienberg, Hollywood Reporter

If you love watching a bunch of armored space soldiers shooting at each other with blasters, you’ll have nothing to complain about. But-sans history, motivation, or facial expressions-it rings a bit hollow, lacking the achingly human element. — Sonia Saraiya, Vanity Fair

As you would expect, the leading man, played by Game of Thrones‘ actor Pedro Pascal, is a gargantuan presence. The camera rarely strays from him as he blasts through dozens of enemies. — Jack Shepherd, SFX Magazine

The complexity introduced by Pascal’s performance, Favreau’s writing, and Filoni’s direction is enough to keep us engaged. Let’s just hope the rest of the world firms up around him. In Filoni and Favreau we trust. — Dave Trumbore, Collider


The Mandalorian Key art (Disney+)

(Photo by Disney+)

HOW ARE THE VISUAL EFFECTS?

There’s so much in this show to be excited about, from the lightning-fast fight scenes to large, mushy alien animals. — Emma Stefansky, Thrillist

The biggest problem, at least in this episode, is how oddly stagey it looks and feels. I can’t put my finger on it, but it feels less like a cinematic TV show (or even a conventional TV show) and more like a dress rehearsal of a very expensive play. — Scott Mendelson, Forbes

The Mandalorian leans into the sci-fi Western genre, which is a great atmosphere, even if the montage of our Mandalorian learning to break and ride a corralled alien is kind of dorky. — Matt Miller, Esquire Magazine

Masterminded by Jon Favreau, the show smoothly introduces us to the dusty frontier worlds and shadowy cantinas the Mandalorian inhabits. — Sean Keane, CNET

Thankfully, despite the family-friendly rating, the episode doesn’t shy away from showing how effective and deadly Mando can be, and the action scenes are shot with kinetic energy and rhythm, dropping us right in amid the chaos. — Laura Prudom, IGN Movies

Visually, The Mandalorian looks simply fantastic, filled edge-to-edge with rich set details and cinematic, otherworldly vistas. — Matt Webb Mitovich, TV Line

Despite taking place in a universe millions of fans are acquainted with, “Mandalorian” doesn’t spend enough time explaining its own world. Attempts to establish a time and place are clunky. — Kelly Lawler, USA Today


The Mandalorian stormtrooper heads (Disney+)

(Photo by Disney+)

SHOULD WE KEEP WATCHING?

The Mandalorian may not be the next Game of Thrones, and Disney+ may not succeed as a service. But what’s here so far is a good Star Wars TV show, one that takes the existing lore and setting and expands it in a new and exciting way. — Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge

Everything before the reveal promises a lean Western series carried by a hero who’ll always save the day. As history proves, that’s the basis for pure entertainment, and it’s a promise the show should keep.— Matt Patches,
Polygon

At first glance, The Mandalorian appears to have lived up to its potential. — Kevin Yeoman, ScreenRant

[The premiere is] good enough to keep me watching, forgettable enough that I doubt I’ll want to watch this specific episode again. — Brian Tallerico, RogerEbert.com

It’s a convincing hook for a series, but the series premiere was all action and minimal plot. — Paul Dailly, TV Fanatic

Although this first episode has its struggles, these cliffhanger questions and the sense of nostalgia laced throughout may well have you coming back for more. — Alex Haslam, Radio Times

The Mandalorian seems satisfied with its gunfights, aliens, robots and silent hero. And it should be because so far it’s great. — Evan Saathoff, Birth.Movies.Death.

As long as you go into The Mandalorian merely expecting the first chunk of a roughly six-hour film (we don’t know yet how much the length of episodes will vary), all will be good. — Chris Taylor, Mashable

The climax of The Mandalorian premiere cut strangely between misshapen tones, from laser-cannon gundowns to a cute baby melting even the coldest heart. — Darren Franich , Entertainment Weekly


The Mandalorian season 1, episode 1 is now available on Disney+.


Critics Consensus: Though its character building leaves something to be desired, "Chapter 1" is a visual feast with enough sense of adventure to inspire hope that the force may be strong with The Mandalorian.
Synopsis: A Mandalorian bounty hunter tracks a target for a well-paying client.... [More]

Like this? Subscribe to our newsletter and get more features, news, and guides in your inbox every week.

Tag Cloud

SDCC Holiday FX on Hulu Lionsgate Disney Plus Valentine's Day CNN scorecard political drama Certified Fresh Paramount Network YouTube Apple Ghostbusters Christmas Lifetime Mary poppins Crunchyroll franchise Pop TV Song of Ice and Fire USA zero dark thirty animated video on demand Musical Film Disney+ Disney Plus cinemax HBO 2019 venice TruTV remakes jamie lee curtis nature 2020 BET spain HBO Go Marvel award winner Television Critics Association Amazon Prime TIFF See It Skip It green book comic The Arrangement Chernobyl aliens 2015 Pirates ghosts Ellie Kemper Nat Geo discovery Sundance TV obituary X-Men The Witch GoT Red Carpet Infographic Shondaland teaser Drama Masterpiece ABC screenings reboot USA Network elevated horror Turner Classic Movies binge universal monsters Music NBC Film Festival BBC One Hallmark Mary Poppins Returns werewolf Superheroe movie TCA Winter 2020 sitcom Nominations DGA Podcast Chilling Adventures of Sabrina adaptation thriller Spike stop motion stoner james bond dogs Kids & Family Awards Reality Competition police drama free movies YouTube Red travel disaster child's play Superheroes Vudu Sundance Now facebook Ovation Mindy Kaling spanish language Stephen King Tomatazos Rom-Com french History worst boxoffice game of thrones Acorn TV BBC Teen christmas movies Turner fast and furious Martial Arts The Academy renewed TV shows indie tv talk Sneak Peek asian-american Lifetime Christmas movies concert E3 Oscars Netflix 2018 Quiz Biopics LGBTQ zombie critics Trailer Pixar TV Tumblr Dark Horse Comics Logo cancelled TV series FX Sci-Fi Grammys die hard GIFs biography nbcuniversal psycho rotten movies we love The CW Toys anime Pride Month directors crossover television science fiction The Walking Dead dragons Mudbound romance PlayStation RT21 war Tarantino Fantasy Reality RT History richard e. Grant Funimation PaleyFest composers Binge Guide period drama National Geographic crime drama video chucky VOD Mystery book crime slashers CW Seed films sag awards social media Year in Review Showtime New York Comic Con LGBT revenge Animation festivals Discovery Channel blockbuster TLC Epix El Rey strong female leads Elton John ABC Family 4/20 Western Food Network documentaries 24 frames Hallmark Christmas movies San Diego Comic-Con DC Universe all-time Rock finale Set visit DC Comics Interview name the review parents Super Bowl mutant Comedy TNT Sundance anthology independent sequels OWN Lucasfilm psychological thriller Box Office Extras spanish Fox News Star Wars 21st Century Fox Adult Swim Apple TV Plus The Purge Marvel Studios Starz BBC America Warner Bros. based on movie space Disney 2016 comiccon dceu 72 Emmy Awards VICE nfl Cosplay Sony Pictures reviews 71st Emmy Awards technology politics Freeform TV Land Travel Channel sequel Heroines Peacock MCU GLAAD cats spider-man Musicals joker Britbox what to watch cartoon Election spinoff Polls and Games latino IFC Films Trophy Talk rotten serial killer Comedy Central Country CMT Emmy Nominations Walt Disney Pictures indiana jones cults Disney streaming service deadpool Pop WarnerMedia Star Trek cops robots cars japanese President miniseries cancelled dramedy Spring TV PBS children's TV NYCC blaxploitation batman TV renewals halloween kids casting Amazon SundanceTV mockumentary witnail zombies Mary Tyler Moore Writers Guild of America Black Mirror ID IFC spy thriller Video Games Trivia foreign Calendar Paramount hollywood DC streaming service cooking theme song WGN Opinion 007 Esquire streaming news south america football Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt TCA dark MSNBC Syfy Disney Channel Crackle Best and Worst Holidays Fox Searchlight Women's History Month a nightmare on elm street VH1 canceled TV shows Creative Arts Emmys halloween tv FXX Black History Month true crime Amazon Studios Countdown Cannes Nickelodeon transformers Shudder comedies comic books emmy awards Rocketman TCA 2017 romantic comedy Bravo Winners justice league Anna Paquin Horror OneApp hispanic Classic Film TCA Awards toy story Marathons BET Awards E! festival italian First Look Avengers game show australia Schedule breaking bad AMC APB rt archives FOX series HBO Max 2017 TCM medical drama YA Fall TV Thanksgiving Premiere Dates hist Netflix Christmas movies superhero Watching Series Baby Yoda Family Emmys Action Television Academy mission: impossible golden globes Awards Tour 20th Century Fox Summer Brie Larson black YouTube Premium natural history Rocky crime thriller unscripted American Society of Cinematographers Photos First Reviews versus Character Guide archives comics TBS vampires movies cancelled television Amazon Prime Video BAFTA CBS harry potter scary movies DirecTV worst movies cancelled TV shows dc Comic Book A&E canceled ratings Tubi 45 docudrama supernatural CBS All Access Marvel Television Cartoon Network ESPN Academy Awards diversity Endgame quibi Apple TV+ classics Arrowverse sports Hulu ITV doctor who singing competition stand-up comedy best twilight MTV toronto A24 criterion Winter TV adventure Columbia Pictures Pet Sematary screen actors guild satire laika Comics on TV talk show Universal historical drama SXSW Spectrum Originals Captain marvel documentary Hear Us Out