Movie Review: Rebel Moon — Part Two: The Scargiver

Wheat. So much wheat.
That’s the main takeaway from the second instalment of Zack Snyder’s interplanetary space saga that, depending on your perspective, either pays homage to or shamelessly rips off previous epics ranging from Seven Samurai to Star Wars. If you add up the running times of both Rebel Moon — Part Two: The Scargiver and the first film, it amounts to well over four hours. It’s not surprising, considering that this one features a sequence in which the characters harvest wheat for what seems longer than a Swedish art film. And I know that the setting is supposed to be an alternate universe, but considering that it features spaceships and technically advanced weaponry, it seems a bit absurd that farming hasn’t advanced beyond scythes.
Such musings are unavoidable when confronted with this boring epic, which continues the story of a rag-tag group of farmers living on the moon of Veldt being threatened with extinction by the imperialistic Motherworld. Their military forces, the Imperium, are led by Darth Vader, sorry, Admiral Noble (Ed Skrein), who wakes up understandably angry after his near-death experience in the previous film.

The farmers, meanwhile, have been organised into a fighting force by Luke Skywalker, sorry, Kora (Sofia Boutella), who’s assembled a mercenary team featuring such warriors as cyborg, lightsword-wielding Nemesis (Doona Bae), perpetually shirtless Tarak (Staz Nair), farmer Gunnar (Michiel Huisman) and former Imperium general Titus (Djimon Hounsou). There’s also a very articulate robot, C-3PO (, I mean, Jimmy), voiced by Anthony Hopkins, delivering the best performance in the film without even having to show up on set.
If you thought the previous instalment was all build-up, you might be distressed to learn that the follow-up is…a lot more build-up. Although this time it’s a little faster-paced and leads to an extended battle sequence comprising roughly the film’s second half. It’s hard to tell, however, since Snyder employs so much of his trademark slow-motion that you get the feeling the movie would be a short if delivered at normal speed.

That extended build-up includes, get this, a lengthy ceremony in which many of the heroic characters are presented with awards. (It’s hard to blame Snyder and his co-screenwriters Kurt Johnstad and Shay Hatten for this because it’s highly unlikely the film itself is likely to receive any.) There’s also an extended scene in which Titus orders his fellow warriors to deliver their backstories, presented in the form of flashbacks that feel like the cinematic equivalent of speed dating.

The first film was roundly criticised for its lack of memorable dialogue, plot elements or characters, and this one doesn’t do much to improve those aspects unless you consider Titus singing a mournful lament prior to going into battle to be a plus (Hounsou does have a surprisingly nice voice). None of the actors can really be faulted, since they exhibit an impressive commitment to their physically strenuous roles, many of them displaying the sort of toned, muscular physiques that the mere mortals among us can only dream of. Boutella and Skrein are particularly notable in this regard, especially as demonstrated in an awesome hand-to-hand fight sequence taking place on an out-of-control spaceship that seems to go on for hours (I’m not sure that it actually doesn’t).

The extended battle scenes with which Rebel Moon concludes prove undeniably impressive, which is for the best since they’re the film’s entire reason for existing. Snyder provides an ample display of the visual flair and skill for action that have endeared him to legions of fans who exhibit so much dedication that they’re willing to sit through numerous versions of his films. As is the case with these two, for which Snyder has announced he’ll soon be providing R-rated director’s cuts running some three hours each. Which makes one wonder: Why bother to watch these versions that clearly don’t have his full endorsement?


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Boluwatife Adesina is a media writer and the helmer of the Downtown Review page. He’s probably in a cinema near you.

About Author / Boluwatife Adesina

Boluwatife Adesina is a media writer and the helmer of the Downtown Review page. He’s probably in a cinema near you.

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