Zero games Played with Ahsoka

As a casual Star Wars fan I never truly understood the hype behind the Franchise. I watched all of the movies and the first two seasons of The Mandalorian  but anything deeper in the lore lost my interest. Which ultimately weakened my desire to tune in to any new projects. No matter how much foam accumulated from a loyal follower’s mouth when dedicating my life to a space western didn’t peak my interest…Clearly I have been missing out. 

As a viewer who did not watch The Clone Wars or Rebels I can assure you that previous Star Wars knowledge are complementary not mandatory for the new Ahsoka Tano show. 

Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson) serving face during debrief 2023

Que the signature prologue scrolling across the screen. The Republic is in control but that gripe does not seem so tight. We are immediately introduced the antagonist. Two unknown mercenaries armed with light sabers and a threat of the resurgence of the Empire. The mystery of these fighters history increases our interest when Huyang, the obligatory quippy robot, informs us they they are indeed Jedi. The source of this beef is fueled by this spooky ass witch Morgan Elsbeth. Who is currently looking for a special map. This is the last role of actor Ray Stevenson before passing away this May 2023. And he does not waste it. 

Baylan Skoll *Ray Stevenson) and Shin Hati (Ivanna Sakharov) getting ready to f@*K things up 2023. 

When we are introduced to Ahsoka she is meticulously solving a puzzle to acquire this coveted map. Composure Kevin Kiner puts his entire compussy into the score as we watch Ahsoka’s acquire the asset and promptly destroy 4 battle robots without removing her cloak. Rosario shines as a harden Jedi going to the motions to complete her task.  Approaching every fight with an annoyed ease.

Resolving conflicts with droids and Jedi come naturally to Ahsoka but it is her complex relationship with former protégé Sabine Wren (Natasha Lou Bordizzo) that proves to be the really challenge. Sabine is talented and arrogant in spite of Ahsoka apparent abandonment. Unlocking the map within hours of acquiring it. Watching her wheels turn as she examines the map resembles puzzle gameplay. Locking in the audience for the ride that is ahead. 

It can be inferred that Sabine is equal parts arrogant and talented. A combination that leads to good TV. Watching her pull out a light saber added a sense of danger to the character, only to immediately show that she needs training. I was relieved to have her reunite with Ahsoka to help her complete her training. 

Sabine (Natasha Lou Bordizzo) choosing violence 2023

The relationships between the characters seem to be the focus of this series. Hera Syndulla (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) , who I formally dubbed :the green lady”, serves as the anchor for all the characters. The rich history between Syndulla and the characters is palpable with every interaction. Hinting to a former adventure that has changed our protagonist forever. The question now becomes: with the threat of the return of the Empire how will these relationships grow…or sever? 

Hera Syndulla (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) getting things done 2023

Episode 1+2 served as an epic introduction to the Ahsoka series. It’s cinematic approach, likable characters, and incredible action scenes makes it easy to tap in at every level. Be warned it will tempt you to drink the Star Wars kool aid and catch up through the other properties. 

A Superhero with a Family

During the height of the “Superhero Fatigue”  Angel Manuel Soto’s new Blue Beetle film dares to break the tried and true formula set by it’s predecessors. Not by featuring a Mexican-American lead or highlighting a hero without an 80+ year legacy, this movie subverts typical troupes with it’s boldest move yet…including his supportive family in his origins. 

Jaime Reyes (Xolo Manidueña) getting roasted by his [R-L] Mother Rocio (Elpidia Carrillo) , Uncle Rudy (George Lopez), his sister Milagro (Mellissa Escobedo), and father (Damían Alcázar) 2023

The story begins with the return of Jaime Reyes to his home town after a four year stint at a university. Palmera City may be a fictional town created for the DC universe, but it still suffers from the systematic issues that plague our reality. The physical, financial, and personal sacrifices Jaime’s family endured to secure his future are immediately put on display. Generating a superhero complex for our young protagonist well before any universal tech is introduced. He has to save the family and deliver the long promised American Dream. Turns out syncing with an alien Scarab is easier.

After losing his job for protecting a rich and privileged heiress Jenny Kord. Jaime agrees to assist in the misappropriation of alien tech with his new crush from his potential employers top secret military office. Jenny may mean well, but her misguided attempts to do the right thing puts the Reyes in imminent danger. Sparking a chain of misfortune events that includes a violent HOUSE RAID and the death of the Reyes patriarch. Fortunately, for the remaining members of the family,  Jaime was chosen by the scarab as it’s new host on earth. In what arguably can be seen as one of the most traumatic superpower discoveries on screen. The Reyes helplessly watch the scarab aggressively take over Jaime’s nervous system.  Xolo Maridueña perfectly captures the fear and excitement of a young hero. Watching him stumble through the air while troubleshooting dangerous military tech made him equal parts dangerous and endearing. 

Jaime Reyes (Xolo Maridueña) looking cool fully suited as Blue Beetle 2023

Most superhero stories feature an orphan protagonist burdened with secrets ultimately finding a new family amongst their contemporaries. This won’t work for Jaime because there are no secrets in a Latin household.  Soto’s script unapologetically breaks these trends by centering Jaime’s culture and emphasizing the importance of community in the Latin space. Sneakily exhibiting micro-aggressions and racism with multiple interactions. The film paid homage to the source material by including Spanish in the dialogue. Going so far as to make Khaji Da use to the language to solidify their connection with Jaime. Each member of his family played an integral part in his origins. Communicating that his acceptance of his new role will not affect his standing in the family. An idea that was reinforced after the untimely death of his father in an heartbreaking speech delivered by his grandmother. A former refugee willing to shoot the fair to protect her family. Reminding the audience that for many people of color resting to grieve is a luxury. 

The Reyes family celebrating the life of their lost patriarch [R-L] Jaime Xolo Manidueña), Nana (Adriana Barraza), Milagro (Mellissa Escobedo), Rocio (Elpidia Carrillo) andRudy (George Lopez)2023

Blue Beetle was a love letter to fans of the comic and members of the Latin community. Combining the signature camp of the DC universe with grounded storytelling. Every member of the cast brought their A game while having fun with their characters. Flawlessly executing the dialogue in multiple languages with maximum personality. Making each character feel real. Give Angel Manuel Soto whatever he wants. If this installment serves as a preview for what the new DCU will look like under the guidance of James Gunn “Superhero Fatigue” may be a thing of the past. 

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