The Fail of a Sequel: Rebel Moon Part 2’s Mixed Reception

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Tim Beisiegel
| April 23, 2024
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Rebel Moon Part 2: The Scargiver came out on Netflix as an exclusive on April 19, 2024. It has not been well received thus far. In fact, Rebel Moon Part 2 broke Zack Snyder’s personal record on Rotten Tomatoes for the worst audience score, just barely beating out his movie Sucker Punch by 1%. Sucker Punch landed at 47%, while Rebel Moon was sitting at 46% for some time. Keep in mind that this is the audience score, not the critical response.  Since that initial response, the audience score has increased to 51%, but the critic’s score is still only 18%. 

Now, typically, I try hard to be objective when reviewing work. Why? Because it’s art, and art is subjective to both the creator and the viewer of the made item. Zack Snyder has made many fine films and has many reasons to be proud of his art. I just feel that this movie is not one of those pieces of art in which he excelled. 

But before we get into the reasons why I am glad Lucasfilm passed on this series of movies as a Star Wars standalone project, let’s look at what Zack Snyder and his crew GOT RIGHT. 

The Silver Linings 

  1. Just like with part 1 – the cinematography – whether CGI or how it was live shot, is breathtaking at times. The views of the planets from space, the rings around the planets and moons, the flowing fields of wheat, and many other shots are all gorgeous. To be honest, I would not be surprised at all to see Rebel Moon 1 & 2 up for cinematography awards in the upcoming awards season. Even though I have issues with other parts of this movie series, this accomplishment should be acknowledged. 
Kora walking through a wheat field on Veldt
  1. The development of the lead character, Kora. There are still some holes in the story that need to be patched, but this episode of the story does help you to feel for her and identify with her as someone who was double crossed and abandoned by someone they loved and cared for and put into an impossible, no-win scenario. I don’t think that part one helped you to identify the totality of her abandonment and her feeling of being alone. Part 2 shows how her adoptive father, Balisarius, completely left her. It helps to explain some of her personality traits and her struggles to trust and attach to others. Part 1 only showed glimpses. Part 2, although there is still work to be done for the character, makes her more complete. More believable. 
  2. Laser swords. This is where even Star Wars, the leader in laser swords, aka lightsabers, can’t seem to get it right as of late. At least in Rebel Moon, when you get run through with a laser sword, that is it for you. There is no coming back. Lately, you have about a 75% chance of survival in Star Wars, depending on your plot armor. 
Kora dueling with laser swords

Where the Wheels Came Off

I have some serious issues with this movie and the series as a whole. Let’s discuss those reasons and why my feelings about Rebel Moon haven’t improved since Part 1. 

  1. Just like in part 1 – the excessive use of slow motion. I get that this is Zack Snyder’s calling card. The Slow Mo fight is kind of his thing ….. But he needs to do less of it. I also like salt and pepper in my food, but too much spoils the meal. It’s the same thing here. Not every fight or every scene requires a slow-motion shot. After some time, it becomes tedious and draws your attention from whatever is happening in the scene because you sit there thinking, “Oh, look, another slow-mo shot.” 
  2. Honestly, the first 45 minutes of the movie feel like a really elongated episode recap for part 1. They all sit around the table and tell their personal stories of loss and anguish in a scene that drones on and on. Honestly, you can’t help but sit there and notice that this is the same stuff they told us in part 1 when they were assembling their “We have the Justice League at home” version of rebel forces, albeit with a few minor details added to each story. Certainly, there is not enough new information to justify the scene’s length. 
  3. I feel obligated to talk about the absurdity of the story’s pacing. The group of rebels is standing in the middle of the town hall in Veldt, talking about the importance of wheat to the Imperium (think Galactic Empire in Star Wars) and how quickly it needs to be harvested. The town says it can’t be done in less than five days, which, of course, they do it faster because, yay, teamwork! But at the dinner, this woman you see toiling the field with the rest of them whips out these, as she calls them, “shoddily made gifts.” These gifts were intricate stitchwork flags in many colors. And unless they had machinery on hand, which seems unlikely, little Susie homemaker, aka Sam, was doing these all by herself after working the field all night. Yes, it’s a little thing, but there is no way she got all those “We Got Justice League at Home” flags done in five days with hand stitching while working the field to harvest wheat by hand. It’s a smaller detail, and yes, it’s overlookable, but it drove me crazy.  
One of the many stitched flags given by Sam at the appreciation dinner scene
  1. The identity of the movie – in my review of Part 1, I said, “This movie tries to be Dune, but the 1984 version. Then it was Gladiator, then the Vikings TV show, and then it was Zack Snyder’s Justice League. And not one of these nods to the other movies is done well.” All those things still hold true to this installment of the series. The movie doesn’t know who it is or what it wants to be when it grows up, making it hard for us, the viewers, to become invested in the story or its characters. 
  2. The wasting of the character voiced by Sir Anthony Hopkins as Jimmy, or JC-1435. We see this apparently indestructible android momentarily in Part 1, and in Part 2, he goes God mode for about 3 to 5 minutes and then is not seen or heard from again until the end of the movie when they reveal what Part 3 will be about and he wants to be involved. Next to Kora, Jimmy is the most interesting character in the show, and like the story and the build of the characters, the mark was missed once again. 
Jimmy … voiced by Sir Anthony Hopkins
  1. All of the above make it hard for me to think this is a viable IP that will grow as time passes. It’s not often that someone gets it right on the third try and saves the IP. Most don’t even make it to Part 2. 

What this all Means? 

You may notice that the issues I had with Part 1 are pretty much the same issues as those with Part 2. On the surface, it appears that Zack Snyder had time to ingest the feedback of both his audience and the critics who viewed his art and decided to push it forward anyway. There was enough of a gap between part 1 and part 2 that edits and changes could have been made. Instead, Zack Snyder gave us this. A rich premise that falls well short of its potential. This is why I am glad this is not part of the Star Wars universe. If they had been in that universe, these movies would be the first Star Wars movies I would not watch again. I have not watched Rebel Moon Part 1 since it first aired on Netflix, and I guarantee that I will not be watching Rebel Moon Part 2 again, either. 

With all due respect to Zack Snyder and his amazing career in movie-making, this is just not very good. It doubles down on the worst parts of Part 1 and doesn’t deliver enough to make me even consider watching Part 3, where they go off to find the Princess who was killed by Kora but is somehow still alive. I just don’t care to find out. 

Unfortunately, it’s 3 out of 10 soup cans for this one. Rotten Tomatoes and the audience scores are right on this one. Viewer Beware. Unless you need a nap. 

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