Spoilers follow for the Disney Plus show – you have been warned. I mean, Obi-Wan Kenobi episodes 1-4 are right there – so if you haven’t seen them already, go watch them now!
Last week’s episode of Obi-Wan Kenobi was stunning; the confrontation between a vengeful, brutally single-minded Darth Vader and the aging, rusty Kenobi being a particular highlight.
Yet there was so much more than just a crowd-pleasing face-off between two of the Star Wars saga’s most beloved characters. The details – subtle and otherwise – in the scenes of Kenobi and the young Princess Leia were beautifully handled, for one thing. The tension in the pair trying to keep their heads down and evade capture were similarly excellent – and even the non-Vader action sequences also delivered genuinely thrilling moments.
In episode 4, a badly injured and understandably traumatised Kenobi cuts short his healing time in a Bacta Tank to rescue Leia from the clutches of the Empire. The Third Sister is doing her best to get information from the child – can Kenobi and his allies save her before she gives away vital details about the burgeoning Rebellion?
I don’t think it’s hyperbole to say that so far, Obi-Wan Kenobi is up there with the best Star Wars stories. Though we know the fates of a few major characters – Kenobi himself nand Leia in particular – there’s still a great deal of tension and excitement wrought from this episode’s rescue mission (even a late stage, silly detail that overturns our suspension of disbelief in the escape doesn’t derail the episode).
In fact, given that this is a prequel, it’s remarkable that it works at all, let alone as well as it does. Director Deborah Chow brings a brilliant sense of style and modernity to the storytelling and action; though Star Wars as it was once known was somewhat of an ode to classic moviemaking, the visual style of Kenobi goes way beyond that, with some truly stunning compositions and a real flair for kinetic action.
Ewan McGregor is the Kenobi he always deserved to be, too – his weary, broken, desperate character being played to perfection.
Though this is one Star Wars project that I wasn’t particularly excited for, I’m very pleased that it’s not just exceeded expectations, but absolutely nailed a style and tone that ranks it incredibly high in the pantheon of great Star Wars fiction. It remains to be seen whether it can maintain this level of quality, but given the strength of the first four episodes I have hope that it’ll continue to deliver.
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