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Summary

  • Rebel Moon – Part Two: The Scargiver delivers on action promised in the first installment.
  • Lack of character development hinders emotional connection and impact of the storyline.
  • Despite potential, film fails to invest in characters, leaving viewers detached from the plot.



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Despite my negative thoughts about Rebel Moon – Part One: A Child of Fire, I truly was curious about Rebel Moon – Part Two: The Scargiver, the second movie in Zack Snyder’s growing Netflix sci-fi franchise. A Child of Fire was largely set-up, putting the pieces into place for an epic battle between the forces of good and evil. When it comes to the action that was promised at the end of the first Rebel Moon, Snyder certainly delivers. But the issues from the first installment are still there — and, in some ways, they only get worse.


Rebel Moon — Part Two: The Scargiver continues the epic saga of Kora and the surviving warriors as they prepare to sacrifice everything, fighting alongside the brave people of Veldt, to defend a once peaceful village, a newfound homeland for those who have lost their own in the fight against the Motherworld.

Pros

  • Rebel Moon – Part Two’s cast is good
  • The action can be exciting
Cons

  • The character development is still nonexistent
  • There’s no emotional connection or investment in the characters
  • There’s a lack of investment and little exploration of the world

For anyone who doesn’t remember where the previous movie left off, Rebel Moon – Part Two kicks off with a recap given via voiceover by Anthony Hopkins’ Jimmy, the antler-sporting robot in search of a purpose. After spending a whole movie assembling a band of heroes to help protect her village, Kora (Sofia Boutella) has returned to Veldt ready to protect it from the forces of the Imperium. Unbeknownst to her, primary big bad Atticus Noble (Ed Skrein) is alive after their climatic fight, and he’s eager to exact vengeance on “the scargiver” who gives the movie its title.


Rebel Moon – Part Two Strives For Big Moments, But Too Many Fall Flat


The subtitle The Scargiver sounds like it is centered around a legendary figure with great importance to this world Snyder has created. But it refers to Kora, since she gave Noble a lasting scar during their big fight. Kora is certainly an important character, but the realization that she got this title simply because she fought Noble once is anticlimactic. Additionally, the impact of Kora being viewed as this infamous Scargiver is lessened each time Noble refers to her as such, and that’s characteristic of many moments in Rebel Moon – Part Two that aim to heighten the stakes and emotions.

And yet, outside of one scene, they are barely given the chance to interact with each other and build relationships that will resonate with viewers.


With only days to prepare for the Imperium’s return, the villagers hastily harvest the grain the fascist force is so interested in (Snyder’s trademark slo-mo extends to the harvesting scenes, meaning there are ample shots of grain flying through the air) and cobble together a defense plan. Titus (Djimon Hounsou), the disgraced general from the first movie, takes the lead here, inspiring the villagers with rousing speeches and teaching them basic fighting skills. This allows Hounsou the chance to remind us what an underrated actor he is, and it is largely because of him that Titus becomes a character we care about.

The same is true for much of Rebel Moon – Part Two‘s ensemble, as, once again, character development is largely nonexistent. Writers Snyder, Kurt Johnstad, and Shay Hatten have created a fascinating group of characters, all of whom could become vibrant personalities if allowed. And yet, outside of one scene, they are barely given the chance to interact with each other and build relationships that resonate with us. This only means that, when one of them falls in battle, and two others share a poignant moment of camaraderie when facing down their potential deaths, everything rings hollow, because we hardly know them.


The aforementioned singular scene that allows the central team to bond also plays out awkwardly, and in such a way that the characters remain frustratingly remote. On the eve of the big battle, Titus tells his teammates that they cannot fight with secrets among them, and so encourages each one to reveal their tragic backstories. Much like how Kora’s past was revealed in Rebel Moon – Part One (and briefly still is here), each character monologues over flashbacks to their past, which is always somehow tied to how awful the Imperium is. It gets repetitive very fast, and doesn’t do much to distinguish each person from the other.

Rebel Moon – Part Two: The Scargiver

Release Date
April 19, 2024

Studio(s)
Grand Electric , The Stone Quarry

Distributor(s)
Netflix

Cast
Sofia Boutella , Charlie Hunnam , Jena Malone , Anthony Hopkins , Cary Elwes

Runtime
122 Minutes


Rebel Moon – Part Two’s Action Scenes Are Exciting

They’re also very exhausting

Once the Imperium arrives, Rebel Moon – Part Two is all about the action, and that can be a good thing. After a brief standoff between Kora and Noble where the former, somewhat inexplicably, nearly gives up immediately, the villagers launch their defense and Snyder goes full-throttle with explosions, blaster fire, and slow-motion. Initially, it is genuinely thrilling to see the villagers stand up against the Imperium and, in some cases, go down fighting against the oppressive force. Snyder has a knack for creating gorgeous visuals, and his vision is clear in these fight scenes.

Eventually, though, the battle grows tiring, and all the emotion is sapped from it. Snyder is smart to move between the various characters so we stay grounded with those we know, but with a lack of affection for any of them, it’s still hard to get invested. Additionally, there is no rise and fall at play here; the moments where we’re meant to feel disheartened, when our heroes are facing down impossible odds, play the same as when surprise characters arrive to turn the tide. There’s no real sense of triumph, nor is there fear or concern.


There Could Be Something Good In Rebel Moon – It Just Remains Out Of Reach

Kora looking back over her shoulder against a fiery backdrop in Rebel Moon Part Two The Scargiver
Sofia Boutella in Rebel Moon – Part Two: The Scargiver

I’m left again with the impression that there’s a really great sci-fi movie hidden somewhere in The Scargiver, or at least one that I could become more emotionally invested in. The Rebel Moon – Part Two cast is excellent, led by a great Boutella, who dives into the unsavory parts of Kora’s backstory with gusto.

Snyder clearly has grand ambitions for this world — the stage is set for a Rebel Moon –Part Three in the closing moments of The Scargiver — and a boatload of ideas to fill it. And from the design and lore alone, this is a world I’d like to travel around in, if only it would be properly explored. But Rebel Moon – Part Two‘s refusal to invest in its characters leaves us feeling like we’re on the outside looking in, and it makes it difficult to truly care about where this story is going.


I thought maybe the stakes of a battle where anyone could die (and many do) would help us connect with characters, but alas. Even the return of Hopkins’ Jimmy, one of my favorite parts of Rebel Moon – Part One, did little to drum up emotion. His part remains fairly small here, though there could be more within Snyder’s extended cuts, as the director has promised a greater role for the robot.

Therein lies the biggest problem with Rebel Moon: Snyder has crafted a much larger, and potentially more fulfilling story that audiences will get to see at some point, but Netflix has so far kept it from view. I’m not intrigued enough to give the extended cuts a shot, but I will be curious to see if they paint a more well-rounded picture of Kora and her fellow warriors. Whether Rebel Moon continues after The Scargiver will be interesting. Without a sturdy base to grow on, what will the future of this franchise look like? So far, only Snyder knows.


Rebel Moon – Part Two: The Scargiver

is now streaming on Netflix. It is 122 minutes long and rated PG-13 for sequences of strong violence, brief strong language and suicide.




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