Andor: Episodes 1-4 Review – IGN

Here’s a spoiler-free review of Episodes 1-4 of Andor. The three-episode premiere on Disney+ begins on September 21.

How the film in which Cassian Andor came into (and out) focused on a Jedi-free pocket of resistance we’ve yet to see on screen, Disney+’s Andor delivers a more mature tone thanks to the heavyweight talent solidly behind the camera and benchmarking in front of it. Set five years before the events rogue oneAndor makes a strong first impression in its first four episodes, nicely setting the stage for the ever-fading mystery.

It’s a good reference point now, but it’s impossible not to mention Blade Runner in the series’ opening seconds. rain bombardment; Neon lights shatter the darkness. Shimmering beats of music. A protagonist in a brown coat – the ingredients are all there. But with the focal points still, the 1982 classic isn’t bad, is it? The black sci-fi tone is the one Andor tries to replicate in the first third of the 12-episode first season, mixing it with the help of modern axes to stir up institutional espionage.

Model Tony Gilroy is no stranger to weaving conspiratorial stories of morally gray areas rogue-going characters in order to bring down a larger and decidedly more sinister entity. The writer of the original Bourne trilogy, he also brought Michael Clayton to the screen – one of the sharpest movie scripts of the past 20 years. When you combine those credentials with the fact that he was a co-writer on Rogue One, it makes sense why he chose the project, and why so many of it operates successfully.

While neither Paul Greengrass nor Doug Liman is here to perform it, much of the action wouldn’t seem far from where Jason Bourne did it either. Its grounding nature is a refreshing break from the more frequent lightsaber duels and lousy battles we’re used to in the newer Star Wars productions. In truth, there is very little action at all to speak of in Andor’s working hours, preferring to arrange the table carefully rather than turn it regularly.

Andor’s business hours would rather arrange the table carefully than turn it over regularly.

There’s a growing sense of maturity in Andor that we haven’t seen regularly from Star Wars. It’s not stuck in the shadow of a single family tree or poisoned by the Skywalker fruits that grow on it. Whisper it softly, but there’s even attempts to generate some sexual chemistry on screen at times — something Star Wars, and in a broader Disney sense, has always distracted her blushing cheeks. That’s not to say Andor is a completely adult show by any means, but it certainly shoots to more depth than you might expect. The writing is powerful, something that recent Star Wars projects have been crying out for. The natural dialogue is tinged with humor but never blinking, taking the characters longer to have meaningful conversations rather than scenes designed to embellish the next Clone Wars cameo or help serve the fans.

Nothing looks cheap, instead it looks like a distinct boom on a prestigious TV screen. It’s no coincidence when you take a look at the experienced operators who have been hired to share cinematographic duties over the course of the series – Jonathan Freeman and Adriano Goldman, both Emmy winners for their work on HBO’s Boardwalk Empire and Netflix’s The Crown respectively. It’s the eye of Goldman that directs the first three episodes, with an abundance of trail and still shots combined with a healthy amount of close-up shots that keep us hooked on the characters. The low angle and camera position often helps convey the message that we are with these people on a ground level of resistance, helping us feel more connected to them as a result. It all comes down to being carefully planned and by no means accidental, the people who put the lens on as creatively working to tell the story as the actors who perform in front of it.

Diego Luna easily steps into center stage like Cassian Andor. We learn a lot about his no-nonsense attitude in the Goodfellas first episode tape brawl in which he doesn’t speak words, but eventually says whatever he needs to later with a weak spot in his eyes and pull the trigger. Luna is a smooth worker, who combines the right sense of paranoia with the survivor’s resourcefulness throughout.

Each character behaves like a fully formed human rather than a modern plot device that exists only to conjure up a macguffin. Bix, photographed by Adria Arjona, is a great example of this – providing warmth whenever she appears on screen and a real sense of the long personal history between her and Andor within just moments of our meeting. Then there are the veterans like Stellan Skarsgård and Fiona Shaw, whose appeal just elevates whatever scene they’re in, adding to Andor’s feel as an excellent producer.

Each character behaves like a fully formed human rather than a modern plot device that exists only to conjure up a macguffin.

As for Andor’s opponent, we welcome a relatively new threat. There is no doubt that Vader is one of the most notorious villains of all time, but his overexposure has resulted in him seeing almost everything he has to offer, thus making him less terrifying. Andor’s enemy, on the other hand, is shrouded in an oppressive government uniform and is more intimidating as a result. Kyle Soler acts as an avatar of this evil early on as Deputy Inspector Karn, tasked with leading the hunt for Andor. It’s appropriately slimy, bringing with it an air of awe whenever one of his sly smiles appears on screen – however, it’s that cold outside complexity that hides within him.

Episode 1 does a great job of laying the color foundation for the series, reintroducing us to Cassian and creating his partners while we steadily learn which ones to trust. The small industrial town in which we spend a lot of the opening episodes effectively serves the galaxy in a microcosm – where anyone can be your enemy at the height of imperial turmoil. There is a tangible feeling that we spend time with the people who actually live daily in this world, rather than the select few whose stories we often follow.

Without spoiling anything significant, Episode 2 continues to give us insight into the backgrounds and motivations of each of the characters, with the overall plot not necessarily moving too much, before diving into 3 and 4 on its head. This is where things take off to the next track as stakes mount, danger awaits behind every door, and alliances form and break. Episode 3 is a distinct and exciting game, with a gritty street-level metallic ode to The Lord of the Rings from Gondor that heralds the siege-like guerrilla action.

However, the show does fall back a bit in some semi-recurring flashback sequences of Andor’s childhood. These are essential to the plot and help gain a fuller understanding of his past and future motivations, but admittedly they’re never as compelling as we’d be with the main cast. That being said, they’ll eventually pay off at the end of Episode 3, which is quietly, yet powerfully impactful thanks to some clever overlaps.

Episode 3 is a unique and exciting game.

The overall pace of the first four episodes might be a little slow for some, but I really enjoyed it, finding the steadily revealing plot refreshing when compared to most recent Disney productions in the MCU and Star Wars. He is not afraid of slowing down and immersing himself in the atmosphere that he often generates with success. Once again, the feeling of a deliberate build-up and maturity rather than a series of hyper-velocity guts between fight scenes.

The Disney + Star Wars shows may have fluctuated in quality, but the music is something they’ve consistently excelled at — whether it’s the hypnotic rhythm of Ludwig Goransson’s Mandalorian score or Natalie Holt’s stunning twists on classics in Obi-Wan Kenobi. This time, Nicholas Brittel added another row of row, and while he hasn’t produced anything instantly recognizable as his succession theme over the first four episodes, he does make his mark with stoic strings, smashed cymbals, and ornate hostile bells. And the drones – fit in with Andor’s bubbling paranoia perfectly and only add to Gilroy’s compelling vision.

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