Review – Rebel Moon: Part Two – The Scargiver

No stranger to divisiveness in his filmography, Zack Snyder’s first iteration of a self-proclaimed attempt at his own ‘Star Wars’ hit Netflix at the end of 2023 with quite a lot of anticipation leading up to it, despite audiences knowing that not only was Rebel Moon only the first part of a two-hander, but was also an edited version of the film for more general audiences to enjoy before a longer, more brutal director’s cut was expected to release later in 2024. Four different movies for one script… no one does excess like Snyder!

Unfortunately, Rebel Moon: Part One – A Child of Fire did not land too well, with critics and audiences alike feeling underwhelmed by his attempt to build a brand new, sci-fi based world with the substance, story, and characters of something like Dune, but the execution showcased that far more effort was put into the style, rather than the substance.

And the lacklustre reception to Part One has somewhat rippled into the release of Rebel Moon: Part Two – The Scargiver, which is releasing April 19th on Netflix, but with considerably less fanfare and anticipation than its predecessor, despite it being the better of the two films, by far. Beware – spoilers for Rebel Moon: Part One lie ahead!

Following a deadly battle against the Realm, Kora (Sofia Boutella) and the survivors reside to Veldt, where the resistance prepare to defend their new home. During their rallying, Kora’s past affiliations with the Realm begin to come to light, causing the trust of the soldiers and people she’s been fighting to defend, to be brought into question.

What Part One struggled to balance in world building, storytelling, and action, Part Two seems to have a far better grasp on it. The best comparison can be made to the recent Dune films, from Denis Villeneuve. Dune: Part One set up the characters, the politics, and the world before allowing Dune: Part Two to come in and not just expand the story but let the groundwork laid in the previous film to be a foundation for what was ultimately an action-packed war film.

Rebel Moon: Part One did the same, albeit, in a far less interesting way. However, if you followed the basic arc of the story (bad guys are fascists, good guys just want to grow their grain, a leader rises to lead the rebellion to freedom), Part Two will serve as an entertaining continuation of the story because Snyder’s strengths are what truly shine in this sequel.

Stylistically, Rebel Moon: Part Two takes the brilliant aesthetic Snyder created, full of jaw-dropping scenery, unique and interesting character designs, and some pretty awesome action choreography, and focuses on those elements. In fact, the entire second half of this film is an epic scale action scene.

There is an electricity to the way Snyder shoots action, utilising dynamic camera work and seamlessly integrating special effects that is loaded with laser swords and guns, explosions, and of course, super-slow motion fight choreography, that looks awesome, even though it exacerbates the ‘style over substance’ issues with the film.

However, being a reasonably simplified sci-fi saga almost lends to the film being one that you can basically switch you brain off for, and enjoy the vivid colours and neon lit visual aesthetic that is quiet engaging to look at.

The story focuses again of Kora’s past with the Realm and its Imperium army in a way that only really hits a surface level of emotional investment. Rather than Kora dealing with the demons and trauma she’s repressed from her time with this fascist regiment, her guilt shifts to the fact that she’s kept this secret from those who are now close to her.

However, the film doesn’t really dive into the emotional conflict between characters that this secret holds, rather just utilising the small bit of drama it holds for a few ‘shout-y/yell-y’ scenes before the characters are forced to bond again in order to survive the oncoming violence. The acting across the board (aside from some more entertainingly unhinged moments from the villainous Ed Skrein) leaves a lot to be desired to assist that emotional investment too.

It’s hard to imagine how an extended version of each of these films will enhance the story, however it is something Snyder has pulled off before (see Batman v Superman: Ultimate Edition). The worldbuilding of this series doesn’t really do anything new outside of harness the unique visual stylings of Snyder’s direction and imagination, which is something that is prevalent in this film.

Rebel Moon: Part Two – The Scargiver is a far more action-packed film than its predecessor. However, the story still lacks the substance needed to make it feel like a sci-fi series worth investing more time, energy, and for Netflix, money into. If you don’t mind Snyder’s directorial stylings highlighting some pretty awesome action scenes, this is one film you can just switch off for, and enjoy the pretty colours.

Rebel Moon: Part Two – The Scargiver is on Netflix from April 19.

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Nick L'Barrow
Nick L'Barrow
Nick is a Brisbane-based film/TV reviewer. He gained his following starting with his 60 second video reviews of all the latest releases on Instagram (@nicksflicksfix), before launching a monthly podcast with Peter Gray called Monthly Movie Marathon. Nick contributes to Novastream with interviews and reviews for the latest blockbusters.

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No stranger to divisiveness in his filmography, Zack Snyder’s first iteration of a self-proclaimed attempt at his own ‘Star Wars’ hit Netflix at the end of 2023 with quite a lot of anticipation leading up to it, despite audiences knowing that not only was...Review - Rebel Moon: Part Two - The Scargiver