Saturday, May 18, 2024

“REBEL MOON – PART TWO: THE SCARGIVER”

THE STORYA colony on the edge of the galaxy fights for survival against a tyrannical ruling force.

THE CASTSofia Boutella, Djimon Hounsou, Ed Skrein, Michiel Huisman, Doona Bae, Ray Fisher, Staz Nair, Fra Fee, Elise Duffy & Anthony Hopkins

THE TEAMZack Snyder (Director/Writer), Shay Hatten & Kurt Johnstad (Writers)

THE RUNNING TIME – 122 Minutes


Only a few months ago, the world was introduced to the universe of “Rebel Moon.” Zack Snyder’s attempt to create a sci-fi space opera comparable to “Star Wars” was unfortunately dead on arrival as soon as it had eyes laid upon it. Netflix’s “Rebel Moon – Part One: A Child of Fire was a massive letdown, even for someone like Snyder, who has a passionate fanbase that is always ready to go to war to defend their idol, longing that one day his films will be re-discovered and re-appraised. So, going into “Rebel Moon – Part Two: The Scargiver, there isn’t any feeling of being burdened by anticipation, let alone the feeling of actually witnessing a competently made movie from a filmmaker whose name used to carry the weight of excitement. If anyone is clinging to hope this sequel will improve upon its predecessor, you’ll be sorely disappointed. “Rebel Moon – Part Two: The Scargiver is, astoundingly, an even weaker film than the last, giving almost absolutely nothing for even Snyder’s most die-hard apologists to defend.

“Rebel Moon – Part Two: The Scargiver picks up immediately where the previous film left off. Anthony Hopkins’ narration device, aka. Jimmy the Robot hammers viewers with an expositional dump for the ages, practically recapping the entire first film just in case you didn’t decide to binge it before watching this one on Netflix. The crew of rag-tag warriors, led by Kora (played by Sofia Boutella), return to her village, basking in the false sense of relief after thinking they killed Admiral Atticus Nobel (Ed Skrein). They quickly learn that despite their best efforts, the Imperium will arrive in five days to collect their town’s wheat (why they desperately need this wheat is never once addressed). Kora and crew now embark on training the villagers to defend themselves against the full force of the Imperium and make one last stand. Synder, who’s been quoted as being significantly influenced by Akira Kurosawa’s “Seven Samurai during the making of this film, more than leans into that specific cinematic classic in “Part Two.” He spends the first hour of the film attempting to build camaraderie between the crew members, their attachment to the villagers, and, most of all, the training of the villagers to defend their homes against the Imperium. Once again, there’s nothing here audiences haven’t already seen before, and to make matters worse, it’s all executed on a far more rudimentary level. 

The dedication of “Rebel Moon – Part Two: The Scargiver to keeping the film’s central plot relegated primarily to one location works for and against the film (almost entirely against). As mentioned earlier, this is keen to not only the plotting but also the essence of Snyder’s cheaply veiled imitation of “Seven Samurai. While the single location allows him the chance to delve more into the characters and make up for the lack of characterization in the first film, it ultimately works against “Part Two because Synder and his co-writers simply can’t write good, believable dialogue, let alone craft compelling characters. It’s actually quite impressive how underdeveloped every single character in this film is, especially when the audience has already had an entire movie beforehand to introduce everyone. Most of the defining traits that make these characters recruit-worthy aren’t even touched on this time around. For example, Tarak (played by Staz Nair) is practically a beastmaster with the ability to tame any creature. There are no creatures for him to tame or even implement in the upcoming battle, rendering him useless, so he just teaches the villagers to use knives to fight their enemies. Despite the large budget, the fancy visuals, and Snyder’s inner-teenage boy passion for all things sci-fi, it’s virtually impossible to get emotionally invested in any of these characters. The stakes mean nothing, and neither does Synder’s attempt to give some of the team members a reason to fight. Everyone’s a hollow shell despite the actors’ best efforts, including one scene where each member of the core group trauma-dumps exposition on each other to give them some shred of depth. The only memorable character from this fully realized knockoff universe, Nemesis, is stripped of any worthwhile material worthy of South Korean actress Bae Doona’s time. She does some really solid internal acting and comes the closest to establishing some sort of a bond between the audience and her character. Still, it isn’t enough to rise above the lackluster material. 

After “Rebel Moon – Part One: A Child of Fire,” you’d expect the laborious setup involving world-building and character introductions to pay off somewhere in “Part Two,” but Snyder instead opts to focus on the spectacle of it all, leaning more towards his skill sets as a director. By the time you get past an excruciating first half that’s filled to the brim with rushed relationships (with no chemistry), characters reappearing who you’ll end up struggling to remember, and wheat-shredding scenes that are edited like action sequences, you finally get to the meat and potatoes that we’ve spent nearly four hours building up to. Unfortunately, the action itself, especially compared to previous Snyder directorial works, is ultimately just fine. Don’t worry; his famed slow motion many clamor for is still here, but it’s not as frequently utilized (thankfully) as the first film. The major problems hindering the action are that it’s filled with inconsistent CGI, terribly edited, and awkwardly captured by Snyder, who once again serves as his own cinematographer as well. The sense of scale is almost there, but the tactility of the sequences dissipates instantly before becoming overly repetitive. The action is split between what’s unfolded on the ground and in the air with Kora and Gunnar (played by Michiel Huisman) as they board the Dreadnaught. The sequences aboard the Dreadnaught are far more enjoyable as they’re tightly executed, with close-quarter combat and gunplay providing the far more desired intensity that Synder wants to implement. However, it eventually all just leads up to a rematch that no one asked for between Kora and Admiral Nobel. Admittedly, as a concept, some of the final fight is well done, but it could have played out far better if it wasn’t for Snyder’s obnoxious reliance on gimmicky tricks that continually get in his own way by diluting anything noteworthy.

Simply put, “Rebel Moon – Part One: A Child Of Fire” was terrible, and by some miracle, “Rebel Moon – Part Two: The Scargiver is even worse. The inklings of potential rarely shine through all the watered-down ideas and flawed execution, with little attention or room to develop amidst all the sound and fury that money nowadays can buy when human emotion and tactile filmmaking are apparently in short supply. It’s amusing to see Snyder scramble to desperately make something as impactful or meaningful as “Star Wars when both derive some of the same influences from Kurosawa. Disney+’s “The Mandalaorian’s” first season even recently recreated this entire story in a far more efficient manner (and also ninety minutes shorter). Snyder has recently expressed interest in making six films in this series. To no one’s surprise, the ending of this film indeed sets up an inevitable third part. Maybe the third time will be the charm, though I highly doubt many will be left sitting around waiting to find out.

THE RECAP

THE GOOD - There are few positives except some impressive sound work and Doona Bae's general badassery.

THE BAD - A scaled-down sequel that only continues to deliver underwhelming action with uninteresting characters, bland performances, and predictable outcomes.

THE OSCARS - None

THE FINAL SCORE - 1/10

Subscribe to Our Newsletter!

Giovanni Lago
Giovanni Lago
Devoted believer in all things cinema and television. Awards Season obsessive and aspiring filmmaker.

Related Articles

Stay Connected

98,860FollowersFollow
98,860FollowersFollow
7,305FansLike
7,305FansLike
4,490FollowersFollow
4,490FollowersFollow

Latest Reviews

<b>THE GOOD - </b>There are few positives except some impressive sound work and Doona Bae's general badassery.<br><br> <b>THE BAD - </b>A scaled-down sequel that only continues to deliver underwhelming action with uninteresting characters, bland performances, and predictable outcomes.<br><br> <b>THE OSCARS - </b>None <br><br> <b>THE FINAL SCORE - </b>1/10<br><br>"REBEL MOON - PART TWO: THE SCARGIVER"