Between Mando’s quest to save Grogu and deliver him to a Jedi, Gideon’s ill-described plans for the little green guy, Bo-Katan’s mission to reclaim the Darksaber weapon and her position as Mandalorian leader, and enough filler dialogue and action to justify the presence of Boba, Fennec, and Cara, “Chapter 16” had to juggle a lot of moving parts. Even with its extended 40-minute runtime, “Chapter 16” tries to do too much, too fast, especially when so much of the episode revolves around watching Stormtroopers and Dark Trooper droids getting obliterated in the kinds of action scenes that have been done better in the season’s earlier installments.
Lifelong fans of David Fincher might not have envisioned a film like Mank as his long-awaited, grand return to cinema, especially after a career that mostly consists of grim crime thrillers like Se7en or Zodiac. Additionally, they probably did not expect, after streaming the movie on Netflix after its December 4th premiere, to acquire an interest in learning more about the Golden Age of Hollywood and the complex, complicated inner workings of the industry at the time.
A chunk of the movie doesn’t have major action sequences, but the characters are all so engaging you won’t get bored. And when the action comes, it’s a delight. Diana’s powers offer plenty of visual variety, while composer Hans Zimmer uses her epic theme music to get your adrenaline pumping.
Such is the topic of the historical drama, set mostly during flashbacks to the 1930s, as told through the eyes of Gary Oldman in the title role of Herman J. Mankiewicz, who is best known as Orson Welles’ co-writer (or hired sole writer, depending on what you believe) of Citizen Kane’s Academy Award-winning screenplay. The black-and-white film even attempts to shed light on the long-standing rumors surrounding the alcoholic writer’s rocky relationship with the legendary filmmaker and radio icon, but mainly from one side of the story. However, Mank is the kind of biopic that aims, not just to inform, but also to pay tribute to the unsung heroes of a lost cinematic era, if not from one distinct and surprisingly relevant perspective.