Star Wars: The Acolyte Episodes 1 & 2 Review


Star Wars: The Acolyte Promises Something New, But It Left Me Feeling Empty

Star Wars The Acolyte Episodes 1 & 2 Review
Star Wars The Acolyte Episodes 1 & 2 Review

I’ve been checked out of Star Wars for quite some time now, more or less since Palpatine infamously – somehow – returned. I’ve kept my eye on the discourse that came with every subsequent project, and from what I’ve seen, it’s mostly been Disney showing pictures of characters people know and everybody clapping at it.

The Acolyte’s New Direction Fails to Captivate

The Acolyte was supposed to be different, a new series unconnected to the Skywalker story, set in the golden age of the Jedi. Unfortunately, if the first two episodes are anything to go by, the golden age of the Jedi is boring as heck.

On a basic level, The Acolyte is about two twins who were separated at a young age after a terrible tragedy saw their hometown burned to the ground. One, Osha, found her way into the Jedi Order before quitting and becoming a meknek, an illegal freelance mechanic. The other, Mae, seems to have fallen in with some kind of dark entity, who trained her to use the Force.

Neither knew the other was alive, but they figure it out pretty quickly when Mae decides to go on a Jedi killing spree and Osha gets arrested in her place. Osha ends up reconnecting with her old master, Sol – portrayed by the excellent Lee Jung-jae – and the two begin to investigate Mae’s murderous rampage.

Interesting Premise, But Lacks Cohesion

It’s an interesting idea, and the characters and world are all sufficiently fleshed out, but it doesn’t really come together in a way that feels right. It’s hard to explain why, too — all the pieces are there, and I can’t point to anything that I thought was explicitly bad, but it just doesn’t work.

I guess I just don’t know why I’m supposed to care about any of this. Mae’s mysterious dark side leader is a big question mark right now, but it doesn’t really matter who he is. He’s a big bad evil guy, and the person underneath the mask doesn’t really draw any intrigue.

Sol and Osha’s relationship, one of master and student, is an interesting dynamic, but I haven’t spent enough time with either of these characters to be invested in their relationship. Maybe, if we’d spent a solitary episode with Osha before she was thrust into this nonsense, everything she’s going through would have more of an impact. But we didn’t, and it doesn’t, and it left everything feeling a bit dull.

Stilted Dialogue and Excellent Performances

The dialogue itself doesn’t help, with the writing feeling stilted, uninspired, and predictable. It’s performed with magnificent gusto from the entire cast, though, and I have particular praise for Lee Jung-jae, who absolutely kills it as Sol, and Manny Jacinto, who breathes life into minor character Qimir, a former smuggler who helps Mae on her quest.

A Visual Feast

It’s also a visual treat, with gorgeous environments, some fantastic lighting, and costume design that is a step above anything else I’ve seen from the series in the past. Fight scenes are shot with clarity and purpose, too, which is a plus in a series that has Force-powered characters flipping and bouncing across the screen.

Final Thoughts

But after an hour and a half with Star Wars: The Acolyte, I feel next to nothing about it. Time passed, I was present, and then it was over. It’s rare that I can watch something and be moved by it so little, but The Acolyte managed to do exactly that. I’ll probably stick with it for a few more episodes, but if they’re anything like the first two, I can’t imagine I’ll be with it for long.


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