Review: The Acolyte

Actress Carrie-Ann Moss in Disney’s The Acolyte

Nobody hates Star Wars as much as Star Wars fans. This is the unofficial motto of the fandom, an attempt to explain why complaints accompany any new release in the franchise like fleas accompany an unwashed Wookie. 

A lot of this can be chalked up to passionate fans being protective of their favorite intellectual property, but there is no denying that the fandom also attracts a lot of trolls that hate for the sake of it and muddy the waters when it comes to legitimate criticism. 

The Acolyte is the latest victim of this. Currently, the latest Star Wars show has a 3.5 out of 10 on IMDb, in part thanks to relentless review bombing by those who have written off the show without having watched it for various dumb reasons—it’s too “woke” (whatever that means), the costumes aren’t gritty enough, the hairstyles are too modern, etc. 

These bad-faith reviews make it harder for fans to criticize things for fear of being labeled as intolerant or reactionary like that (thankfully) small but (unfortunately) vocal percentage. And that finally brings me to my personal views of The Acolyte: It is fine, but it could be better. 

Set around a century before anything else we have seen in the Star Wars universe (on the screen, anyway), The Acolyte has so far mostly been a straightforward murder mystery with some silly soap opera-ish family stuff thrown in (this is Star Wars… silly soap opera-ish family stuff is kind of baked into the DNA), but the majority of it is done well if not great.

The acting is adequate but isn’t award-worthy (the acting in Star Wars very rarely is), and the writing is fine despite the occasional questionable dialogue. When people get in fights the action is pretty cool, mixing martial arts with force powers in a way that really hasn’t been seen before in the franchise. It didn’t blow my mind, and I wish they would have committed and gone full-Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon with the physics-defying craziness, but maybe I’ve just been spoiled by exceptional action scenes recently. 

The show benefits greatly from its simple premise that doesn’t require homework to understand, and the story itself feels less like a Star Wars event and more like a story that just happens to take place in the Star Wars universe. There are some plot holes that I take umbrage with, and it remains to be seen if the show will be faithful to the canon established before it, but the basic bones of The Acolyte look promising so far, especially the bits about family and sisterhood. 

Is it a perfect show? Definitely not, but it is no 1/10 either. It feels fresh, it’s entertaining, and unless things take a drastic turn next week I for one will be tuning in to see things through to the end. If you like Star Wars, give it a shot; it’s more than a lot of fans are doing these days. 

As of this writing, the first three episodes of The Acolyte are now streaming on Disney+, with new episodes dropping each Tuesday. 

Article written by TJ Reid

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