Thursday, August 4, 2011

Marginally Better Than The First Season, The Clone Wars Season Two Is Still Remarkably Simple Science Fiction.

The Good: Action sequences, Moments of character
The Bad: Short episodes, Still more juvenile than I'd like, Frequently predictable.
The Basics: Largely unmemorable, The Clone Wars Season Two is still a decent progression on the first season of the animated series and moves the viewer closer to Revenge Of The Sith.

Back when I was working for the comic book shop, I would bring in movies or television shows to watch and one of them was the second season of The Clone Wars. So, this is going to be a shorter review than usual because I last saw these episodes was about three months ago and the twenty-two episodes were mostly action-oriented, so there is very little to discuss about them. That said, The Clone Wars Season Two follows on the heels of The Clone Wars Season One (reviewed here!) and continues to detail the struggles of the Jedi during the Clone Wars between Episodes 2 and 3. The thing is, the Clone Wars are supposed to set up the defeat of the Jedi and the number of victories the Republic has in this season make it a slower and slower process than is realistic.

In the second season of The Clone Wars, Anakin Skywalker's Padawan, Ahsoka, is more grounded and less rebellious. Her missions on her own, like "Lightsaber Lost," are more vignettes with a pretty obvious message that panders to a younger audience than most of the series seems to be targeting. Ahsoka remains a largely unnecessary character in a work where she must ultimately die, so throughout the adventures in The Clone Wars Season Two nothing happens so extraordinary as to make one attached to the girl. In other words, when she goes, not only will most viewers not be surprised, most will not care.

This season, though, focuses more on Anakin and Obi-Wan, though to say the work is more character-driven is a fallacy. The Clone Wars Season Two is highly plot-driven. Anakin's temper is annoyingly under control, making his turn to the Dark Side less realistic and his interactions with Padme as more stereotypically "guy" responses as opposed to those of a complex or realized character. As such, episodes like "Senate Spy" seem more like a "type" than an actual vital story within the saga. Moreover, arcs like Boba Fett's return minimize the power of characters like Mace Windu and that continues to cheapen the overall power of the Jedi.

What the season does have going for it are generally interesting storylines and increasingly better animation. So while the show might be largely inconsequential, even to fans, it is not unenjoyable to watch. The animation is less blockish or pixellated in many places and there are no places where the season feels cartoonish, except with the "messages" at the top of each episode that seem like they are appealing to a lowest common denominator of people who might not understand the moral of each episode unless it is made explicit.

The second season of The Clone Wars is made up of a few multi-episode arcs that are broken up by bottle episodes. The main arcs for the season include bounty hunter Cad Bane getting a Jedi Holocron for Darth Sideous so the Sith Lord can find Younglings to experiment upon, a mission to Geonosis where the Jedi try to stop Poggle The Lesser from continuing to build his massive droid army for the Separatists and Duchess Satine of Mandalore struggling to keep Mandalore in the Republic while Separatists undermine the legitimate government there. Late in the season, the Republic sets off a massive bomb which awakens the huge Zillo Beast, which becomes a pawn in Darth Sideous's plans. And Boba Fett returns with the help of other bounty hunters to try to take down Mace Windu for killing his father.

The bottle episodes are far less interesting and involve Ahsoka searching for her lightsaber, a pacifist Clone Trooper, a cloaked fighter, and the Jedi defending a village from, essentially, a motorcycle gang. There is also a creepy, but derivative, episode involving a Clone Trooper infected with brain worms.

All in all, The Clone Wars Season Two is entertaining, but does not flesh out the larger Star Wars Saga in any meaningful way.

For other works in the Star Wars franchise, please check out my reviews of:
Star Wars - Episode I: The Phantom Menace
Star Wars - Episode II: Attack Of The Clones
The Clone Wars 
Star Wars: The Clone Wars Volume 1
Star Wars: The Clone Wars Volume 2
Star Wars - Episode III: Revenge Of The Sith
Star Wars - Episode IV: A New Hope
Star Wars - Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
Star Wars - Episode VI: Return Of The Jedi


For other science fiction movies/television, please visit my index page!

© 2011 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.

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