‘Rebel Moon – Part Two: The Scargiver’ movie review: Zack Snyder redeems himself in glorious fashion after a mediocre take-off


Sofia Boutella as Kora in ‘Rebel Moon — Part Two: The Scargiver’

Sofia Boutella as Kora in ‘Rebel Moon — Part Two: The Scargiver’
| Photo Credit: Clay Enos

Sir Anthony Hopkins, as the voice of Jimmy — a mechanical knight and also our narrator — gives us a concise one-minute recap of Rebel Moon – Part One: A Child of Fire, as the sequel to Zack Snyder’s dream space opera opens with a Star Wars-esque introduction to show Ed Skrein’s Admiral Atticus Noble reviving from the dead. And just like that, the soulless character writing, the rushed storytelling, the blurry anamorphic images, and all the wasted potential in myth-making come rushing back from the first film.

As Noble — recuperating in The King’s Gaze dreadnought ship — vows to take revenge on Kora (Sofia Boutella) and her team at Veldt, an unmotivated audience is reminded that for the mess that it was, the first film was just a recruitment exercise for Kora and Gunnar, and much of the story was evidently reserved for the sequel. Though still riddled with similar issues, Snyder redeems himself in glorious fashion, in what turns out to be an adrenaline-pumping experience that cinephiles and his fans thrive on. Rebel Moon – Part Two: The Scargiver is both a dramatic space telenovela cut from the same cloth as its predecessor, as well as a showcase of the popcorn cinema magic you expect from the divisive filmmaker who calls it his dream project.

Sofia Boutella as Kora in ‘Rebel Moon — Part Two: The Scargiver’

Sofia Boutella as Kora in ‘Rebel Moon — Part Two: The Scargiver’
| Photo Credit:

The larger arc of the film revolves around Kora, with the help of General Titus (Djimon Hounsou), Gunnar (Michiel Huisman), Tarak (Staz Nair), Nemesis (Doona Bae) and Millius (Elise Duffy), preparing the villagers of Veldt with a solid battle plan to take on Noble and Cassius’ (Alfonso Herrera as Noble’s right-hand man) dreadnought ship… and then the battle begins. But with a runtime of around two hours, Snyder finds ample space to tell us everything that he teased in the first film. From a young boy adorably curious about the partly-mechanical Nemesis, to the blooming romance between Aris (Sky Yang) and the farm girl Sam (Charlotte Maggi), several subplots with good human drama work wonders for the film, more in retrospect than during.

Characters, especially our rag team of warriors, find more space to breathe, becoming more than just the uninspiring cliches they seemed to be like earlier. And yet, the familiar demon reappears and Snyder’s restlessness in storytelling allows for some campy scene writing to play major spoilsport. Rather than letting them organically find their moment to tell their backstories, we are given a sob-fest of a scene at a dining table as Titus, Nemesis, Tarak and Millius relentlessly go back and forth. It’s disconcerting since these flashbacks, had they appeared more organically, might have made you empathise more with the neglected soldiers.

Rebel Moon Part Two: The Scargiver (English)

Director: Zack Snyder

Cast: Anthony Hopkins, Sofia Boutella, Ed Skrein, Charlie Hunnam, Staz Nair, Djimon Hounsou, Doona Bae and more

Runtime: 122 minutes

Storyline: Kora and her gang of warriors prepare the villagers for war, as a resurrected Noble seeks vengeance

The biggest fumble in the screenwriting is where Snyder lets Kora (now in a deepened romance with Gunnar) tell him the secrets of who she truly was before her exile to Veldt, and why she is Imperium’s most wanted criminal; a potent piece of information that Rebel Moon has been keeping close to its chest gets wasted as one of several rushed expositions.

But after an hour of what feels like unchecked boxes being ticked, Snyder rises to the occasion and uses the canvas to its full potential. We get an hour of captivating cinema as Kora’s team and the villagers channel their might at the Imperium in an exhilarating battle sequence. It’s nothing that hasn’t been seen before, but the good old larger-than-life sensibilities, a rousing score, and visuals that marry Akira Kurosawa with modern Star Wars-esque weapons come together for a proper spectacle. This is precisely what the first film missed in its epic final showdown, and you are thoroughly invested in the events despite the blurry aberrations and the sci-fi backdrop.

Staz Nair as Tarak and Djimon Hounsou as General Titus in ‘Rebel Moon — Part Two: The Scargiver’

Staz Nair as Tarak and Djimon Hounsou as General Titus in ‘Rebel Moon — Part Two: The Scargiver’
| Photo Credit:
Clay Enos/Netflix

For all the doubts that Sofia’s emotionless act in the first film had raised, the actor’s Kora goes from strength to strength this time around. Meanwhile, Skrein and Hounsou offer truly devoted turns; Noble manages to appear more sinister than even the tyrant Balisarius, and just the slow-motion shot of the hunky General Titus using a scythe to weed out wheat demands a second viewing.

Rebel Moon – Part Two: The Scargiver gives us a proper dose of the quintessential Zack Snyder epic that was initially promised, but it remains only half a film at that. But with so much more to explore —and the ending leaving you with a hint of what to expect next — there is hope for a better trajectory to come.

Rebel Moon – Part Two: The Scargiver is currently streaming on Netflix


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