Resistance Is Not Well-Known For A Good Reason
I don’t blame you if you’ve never heard of Star Wars Resistance. It’s more obscure; I only discovered it by searching through the vast swath of Star Wars content on Disney+. It’s the only series I know of that deals with anything related to the events of the newest trilogy (at time of writing) and seems the closest of what I’ve reviewed to a traditional children’s show.
What I mean is, while most of Star Wars’ iterations skew younger with its intended audience, Resistance leans into that mindset. It’s even more Saturday morning cartoon than Clone Wars or Rebels. It’s got slapstick (very generic), comedic moments (that are not funny), and broad goofiness (which is fine). It even, somehow, tones down death further than usual. In the first three episodes, no one is shot by a laser, cut by a lightsaber, or even explodes on screen. The most that happens is someone is thrown overboard in episode one, and in episode three, a ship sinks under the waves, likely never to be seen again. The moment where our main character, Kaz (voiced by Christopher Sean), and minor antagonist, Grevel (voiced by Dee Bradley Baker), get thrown around by laser fire, end up on a moving ship, then somehow survive getting dropped back on the same platform where they started was when any chance of this show being serious went right out the window for me.
And that’s a shame because it has yet another fun premise, like The Book of Boba Fett or Andor, that deviates from the usual Jedi/Sith stuff. Resistance focuses heavily on ship-to-ship combat and flying. It occasionally gets across the actual danger and speed of ships in this universe and the difficulty of hitting those kinds of targets with slow-moving lasers. It even—before it’s clear how much plot armor everyone has—manages to evoke the tension and anxiousness of how many hits an average ship can take without exploding.
And this aspect is the main reason I’m willing to be a little nicer about the animation. This show is not great looking otherwise. When I’m constantly distracted by the walk cycles, it’s a bad viewing experience. Clone Wars often looked clunky, but it holds up well enough and seems the now-default animation style for Star Wars shows. Resistance just feels like a failed experiment.
So, I clearly don’t like this show much—I keep digging in with barbs—but, in one regard, Resistance was routinely excellent: the voice acting. I could take or leave most of these characters; they’re standard tropes in the Star Wars universe: a competent but grumpy mechanic, a gruff but caring mentor figure, and an everyman seeking adventure. But they’re voiced so well. While he often feels goofier than I’m used to in Star Wars, Kaz has this infectious enthusiasm and yet gets much-needed somber moments. He also gets good interactions with the others. I love Jarek’s (voiced by Scott Lawrence) little quips. Tam’s (voiced by Suzie McGrath) open sarcasm at Taz is fun. They even got Oscar Isaac to voice Poe for the opening two-parter, and during his and Kaz’s few scenes together, they kind of nailed Poe’s tendency to be both quippy and serious. But, by far, the character I enjoyed the most was Neeku (voiced by Josh Brener). Now, it’s not my place to talk about the clear autism coding of the character or the often-problematic stuff related to having a non-human character/species be the main portrayal of something in a show, but I found Neeku likable, fun, and a highlight of each episode. He has a great dynamic with basically every character he interacts with. Between him and characters like Torra (voiced by Myrna Velasco), with her bubbly confidence, it adds a sense of liveliness to The Colossus. Rebels was also slowly building a sense of community in the episodes I reviewed, but Resistance achieves the same feeling way faster.
Sadly, the writing often detracts from all the positives. Like the animation, it can be actively—and detrimentally—distracting. The main issue is repetition. Taken individually, I didn’t notice any dialog that struck me as clunky. But, as one example, it grows quite grating if you pay attention to how many times they talk about Kaz’s ship exploding without adding anything new to the plot. It almost feels like a time sink, an attempt to pad the runtime. Between that and multiple fetch quest-style plotlines, episodes probably should be only ten minutes long.
And that’s not even the only issue with the storytelling. Resistance has weird plot holes of contrivances. I know the series needs an inciting incident to exist, but Kaz didn’t pull off that impressive of a maneuver—we’ve seen every capable pilot in the series do similar. Poe having “a feeling” is not good enough of a reason to trust a semi-random person with vaguely defined experience with a direct order from Leia. At least in Rebels, Ezra was force sensitive, making him a default target for Inquisitors.
Another moment that sticks out as a warning sign happens in episode three. During a fairly classic “sound attack” scene, Kaz is standing right next to the thing making the horrible noise, but the pilots hearing it through a radio freak out more than he does. It also somehow jams the pirates’ computers and makes them spark. I get its plot function: Kaz saves the day from the shadows, and if Resistance continues to have scenes of him secretly helping things along, it’ll make for a great and different narrative dynamic—but surely there was a better way to set it up than breaking internal logic.
Resistance sadly marks the first Star Wars show I’ve reviewed negatively. Episode two seemed to turn things around, but it didn’t do enough before another dip in quality. I can see its potential—I can see why it has fans. The characters have interesting elements. Kaz wanting to prove he can be his own person outside of what his father thinks is a strong plotline. The Colossus is a fantastic setting; there’s great potential for exciting spaceship flying and strong intrigue with each new visitor. But I can’t shake the feeling this is a toned-down Clone Wars subplot worthy of a few episodes. It feels like what Rebels would be like if it didn’t take itself seriously. Resistance doesn’t know if it wants to be a tense spy thriller with dangerous dogfighting or a lighthearted, comedic adventure where no one is likely to get hurt, and both subgenres suffer. I can’t recommend it for anyone outside of young children who’ve run out of other age-appropriate Star Wars content.
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