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Film Review

‘Rebel Moon: Part 2 – The Scargiver’ falls short

5/1/2024

“Rebel Moon: Part 2 – The Scargiver”

PG-13 | 122 minutes
Director: Zach Synder
Writers: Zach Snyder, Kurt Johnstad, Shay Hatten
Stars: Sofia Boutella, Djimon Hounson, Ed Skrein

Zack Snyder’s latest foray into the realm of epic sci-fi, “Rebel Moon,” is a grand spectacle of ambition and visual prowess, yet it struggles to break free from its own limitations. Boasting a star-studded cast including Sofia Boutella, Ed Skrein and Djimon Hounsou, the film presents a tale of rebellion, unbreakable bonds and the emergence of heroes in the face of impending doom. However, despite its admirable aspirations, “Rebel Moon” falls short in delivering a truly captivating narrative experience.

Known for his boundless enthusiasm and penchant for pushing the boundaries of cinematic storytelling, Snyder once again demonstrates his commitment to innovation. Yet, as is often the case with his works, “Rebel Moon” elicits mixed reactions, leaving audiences either enamored or disenchanted with its offerings — like going to a great restaurant only to find out they’ve changed the menu because they couldn’t get ingredients they needed.

The film is at its most engaging with its visual construction, with Snyder orchestrating the grandeur of intergalactic warfare on screen. From sweeping battle sequences to stunning CGI landscapes, “Rebel Moon” is a testament to Snyder’s ability to make truly exciting movie trailer b-roll. The man has skills with slow-mo, and his overuse of the technique guarantees a few great scenes. However, for all its visual splendor, the film struggles to engage on a deeper level, failing to establish meaningful connections with its characters or offer anything of a compelling narrative arc.

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The film attempts to blend elements of “Star Wars” and “Seven Samurai” but falls short in crafting compelling characters and a coherent narrative. Despite efforts to introduce new aliens and expand the universe, the story feels derivative and overstretched. While the ensemble cast is remarkable in their star-power, “Rebel Moon” is unable to evoke genuine empathy for its characters. Despite the valiant efforts of the cast, the film’s ensemble feels underdeveloped and lacking in emotional depth. As a result, it becomes increasingly challenging for audiences to invest themselves fully in the fate of these characters, leading to a sense of detachment that persists throughout the film.

While the introduction of new heroes and the expansion of the story’s mythology are commendable efforts, they ultimately fall short of revitalizing a plot that feels stuck in a perpetual cycle of “The Chris Farley Show” from “SNL.”

As the film progresses, it becomes evident that Snyder’s reliance on slow-motion sequences serves as a crutch rather than a stylistic flourish, further exacerbating the sense of stagnation that permeates the story.

In its attempt to set up future installments, the film sacrifices depth for spectacle, leaving audiences with more questions than answers. Despite its potential, “Rebel Moon: Part 2 – The Scargiver” falls short, offering flashy visuals but little substance. Despite a talented cast and ambitious worldbuilding, the film fails to deliver a compelling narrative or memorable characters. While it may appeal to fans of Snyder’s style, it ultimately feels like a missed opportunity to create something truly remarkable.

Given how popular the first film was (according to Snyder and Netflix, anyway), we’ll likely see more “Rebel Moon” down the line. Snyder previously said he’d like to do a six-hour director’s cut of both films, and he recently told Radio Times he would like to stretch the “Rebel Moon” series out to four or six films. Somehow, that just feels like a threat. 

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