Ricky Church reviews the first episode of Star Wars: The Clone Wars season 7…
After six years off the air (seven if you think about the show’s original cancellation), Star Wars: The Clone Wars has returned for its highly anticipated seventh and final season. The season premiere wastes little time placing fans in the thick of things as it follows Captain Rex and a highly skilled and experimental clone squad on a mission into enemy territory. ‘The Bad Batch’ is an entertaining and intriguing story with the series’ classic blend of action set pieces and character development.
The first notable aspect to ‘The Bad Batch’ is how it already feels like The Clone Wars. There’s no acknowledgement of the show’s time away or any recap of the previous events (aside from the usual ‘news reel’ synopsis of course). It jumps right into the story with some pretty clear exposition on the current stakes and the plan to stop the Separatist campaign to conquer a Republic world. Everything from the opening onward feels natural as if no time has passed at all between The Clone Wars‘ end (both its original end and the Netflix Lost Missions) and revival, making a seamless slide into the new story easy for fans new and old.
What is also apparent is the focus on the characters. Clone Wars grew to have a pretty good balance in its stories between the heavy action, character development and philosophical questions it posed and that is on display here as Captain Rex is the focus of this episode and likely the rest of the arc. He’s seen grappling with the fact he is one of the few original members of his squad left and mourning the deaths of Fives and Echo, only to believe that Echo may yet be alive due to the similarities in the Separatists tactics and the ones he and Echo designed. This has the potential to be the most vulnerable we’ve seen Rex, both in The Clone Wars and Rebels, as this mission proves to be a more personal one for him.
If it wasn’t already said before, Dee Bradley Baker is to be given much credit for his voice work as the clones. He slips back into the roles with ease and makes each clone sound once again distinct from one another, particularly Bad Batch member Tech who is fast-talking and more high-pitched than any previously seen clone. He made the Bad Batch a pretty interesting new group with how he matched their voices to their unique appearances. Clone Wars was always good for differentiating the clone’s appearances, but it takes it up a notch here with the Bad Batch as their leader Hunter looks very much inspired by Rambo, Wrecker is a big Hulk-like soldier, Crosshairs who has his name literally tattooed over his eye and they very nerdy-looking Tech. The touches done to make them look completely different, yet still somewhat similar to other clones, was really well done.
On the note of the premiere’s visuals it still looks like The Clone Wars, but the improvements to the visuals given the amount of time its been since the show first went off the air (not to mention the additional changes in graphics and lessons learnt through Star Wars Rebels and Resistance) means the visuals are cleaner and smoother than ever before. The character’s facial expressions are great and the action is choreographed really well. The two main action set pieces with the Bad Batch show just how capable these soldiers are as they take on a horde of Battle Droids. The standout sequence may be the tracking shot of the group as they invade a droid facility and take out numerous droids by combining their own individual and teamwork skills. Tracking shots were something the show never really played with before and only signals how much Dave Filoni and his team aren’t going to fool around with the final season.
‘The Bad Batch’ was a very welcome return for The Clone Wars. Its impressive visuals and balance of action and focus on the characters makes it feel as if the series had never left. The new squad click well with the few established characters we see and Baker does a tremendous job slipping back into the roles of Rex and the rest of the clones. The premiere is more than enough not just to get excited for the next episode, but for what the rest of the season will bring.
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