‘Rebel Moon — Part Two: The Scargiver’ Review: An Even More Rote Story, but a Bigger and Better Battle (2024)

What do you call world-building when it’s built entirely out of worlds that have already been built? I wouldn’t call it cinema; it might be closer to Lego with attitude. Zack Snyder’s “Rebel Moon — Part Two: The Scargiver,” like his “Rebel Moon — Part One: A Child of Fire,” is a sci-fi action fantasy so familiar and generic, so borrowed from and inspired by other things — it’s the 1977 “Star Wars” meets “Seven Samurai” meets “The Lord of the Guardians of the Rings of the Galaxy” — that it’s already the theme-park version of itself. Yet compared to most of the media, I was kind to “Rebel Moon — Part One.” Released just four months ago, it was an oversize banquet of fanboy fast food, not a film to take seriously, but I couldn’t deny that I found it highly watchable, unlike the countless critics who seem to feel that Zack Snyder has become The Enemy Of All They Stand For.

Having cut “Part One” some major slack, though, even I will say: “Part Two” has less of interest going on in it. It’s just an extended countdown to the big showdown, with Snyder devoting scenes to “filling in” characters who still come off as human action figures. Djimon Hounsou as Titus the fallen general-turned-recovering warrior, Doona Bae as Nemesis the cyborg sword master (who wields a weapon that, I’m sorry, is literally a lightsaber), Michiel Huisman as Gunnar the handsome but slightly wimpy love interest, Anthony Hopkins as the voice of Jimmy the droid — there are no hidden levels to these characters. Sofia Boutella’s Kora remains a two-layer cake of Fierceness, with an inner frosting of Vulnerability, who always returns to Fierceness.

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Put “Part One” and “Part Two” together, and it’s clear that “Rebel Moon” is a four-hour movie that could have been told in two hours. It’s not really “epic” — it’s just stretched-out. In the first half of “Part Two,” most of which is set on the amber-waves-of-grain medieval farming moon of Veldt, the film just kind of sits there, treading grain, with a soundtrack of New Age Jungian music as the farmers harvest their crop and ready themselves for battle. There are flashbacks that shore up the characters’ valor and fill in the things they feel guilty about (like the fact that Kora, when she was a royal bodyguard and the adoptive daughter of the Imperium commander Balisarius, was ordered to assassinate Princess Issa).

But it’s all working up to the rebels-meet-the-fascists battle royale, and when Snyder is in his action element, as he is in the last 45 minutes of this movie, he can be as dazzling a genre stylist as James Cameron was in the ’80s. I can almost imagine a trailer for “Rebel Moon — Part Two” with the narrator intoning, “In a world where every movie blows up real good, Zack Snyder really blows this sh*t up good.” He’s a master of disaster, of putting the metal on screen, of dreaming a dream and watching it detonate. This time, though, even the fanboys may have to convince themselves they care.

At the end of “Part One,” Kora, leading the motley crew she’d gathered to fight the Motherworld, had won a duel to the death with Atticus Noble, the evil admiral who, as played by Ed Skrein in a fade topped by scary Roman Nazi bangs, is like Freddie Mercury as a Shakespearean sociopath. But even though she killed him, the Motherworld technology resurrected him. As “Part Two” opens, his body is still lying in a pool of gel, with wires sticking out (very “Frankenstein,” and also very “Dune”), but he’s utterly alive. He soon proves that he’s back to his old tricks by lifting up his Darth Vaderish black-metal-masked henchman as if Atticus himself were Darth Vader. (The henchman cautiously advocates that Atticus undergo more medical tests; for that advice, Atticus smashes his head in.)

With its force of evil revived, and newly messianic, “Part Two” settles into a plot that could hardly be more basic. Kora and her team return to Veldt, where they prepare the noble farm community for battle. Atticus and his military machine plan their own return visit so they can smash the rebellion, with extreme prejudice shown toward the mission of assassinating Kora. She’s the Scargiver because of the circular chest wound she gave to Atticus during their big duel.

The gigantic Motherworld ship arrives just as it did last time, hovering over Veldt in broad daylight, only now Kora is prepared. She, along with Gunnar, infiltrate it in a mini-ship of their own. Once inside, she plants strategic explosives and seeks out her nemesis, and the film cuts to the battle below, which oscillates between rock ‘n’ roll sci-fi gunfire and hand-to-hand savagery and the immensely gratifying ain’t-that-a-kick-in-the-head sight of war ships blowing up from inside, all set to one of those neo-Hans Zimmer scores of droning dread.

“Rebel Moon — Part Two: The Scargiver” is a storytelling mediocrity, but as spectacle it has tumult and rhythm. It gives nothing away to say that in the end, the forces of good triumph. But what surprised me is that just as “Part One” concluded with the twist that Atticus Noble could be revived, “Part Two” ends with the revelation that a key character we thought was dead is not. This is obviously the set-up for “Part Three,” so if you thought we were done with Zack Snyder and his deliriously derivative intergalactic Netflix action daydream, think again. There’s a question that now has me in suspense more than most of the Marvel-movie teasers do. And that’s this: What movies will he knock off next time?

‘Rebel Moon — Part Two: The Scargiver’ Review: An Even More Rote Story, but a Bigger and Better Battle (2024)


What is Rebel Moon 2 about summary? ›

Why is she called the scargiver? ›

She did as she was told, shooting Princess Issa in the heart, only for Balisarius to then frame Kora for the slaughter of the royal family. She managed to escape, but that's why she's called the Scargiver by Noble.

Will there be a Rebel Moon part 3? ›

As mentioned above, Rebel Moon 3 has yet to be confirmed by Netflix, so we don't have an official release date as of May 2024. There were only four months between the first two Rebel Moon movies, but we're in for more of a wait if we do get a third movie. While Snyder is planning it, he's not expecting to film it next.

Is Rebel Moon Part 2 better? ›

In the end, Rebel Moon Part 2: The Scargiver is a solid improvement over its predecessor, but there's still plenty of room for growth. Here's hoping that any future installments can strike a better balance between franchise-building and delivering a compelling, standalone story.

Is Rebel Moon 2 hit or flop? ›

After the critical bomb in the first part of Rebel Moon, the sequel followed the same fate. Rebel Moon – Part Two: The Scargiver was able to claim only a 52% Rotten Tomatoes score, which was mediocre for a movie of that magnitude. The franchise has lost the gravity of the essence to make it huge with more installments.

Is Kai bad in Rebel Moon? ›

Rebel soldier, Milus! And rebel organizers, Darrian and Devra Bloodaxe! Kai turns out to be the not-fun version of a scoundrel, and he betrays the team to Noble.

Who is Korra's love interest in Rebel Moon? ›

Gunnar was the man in charge of the harvest of Veldt and Kora's love interest. He was the only member of the village to join her in her quest to find allies to help defend the village. He was portrayed by Michiel Huisman in Rebel Moon.

Is the princess in Rebel Moon dead? ›

After our heroes triumph over Noble and destroy his ship, we learn a shocking truth: Princess Issa, believed to have been killed by Kora, is still alive.

Why is Cora called the scargiver? ›

Her world was defeated by Balisarius, who spared her and took her in. He gave her the name "Arthelais" and trained her to fight for the Motherworld. She eventually rebelled against the Imperium, coming to be known as the "Scargiver."

How many Rebel Moon films will there be? ›

How many Rebel Moon films will there be? Kurt Johnstad, the writer of Rebel Moon, revealed that both he and Zack Snyder are eager to develop four additional movies, potentially leading to a total of six films in the series.

Did Rebel Moon do well? ›

“Rebel Moon — Part One: A Child of Fire” was Netflix's top movie globally for the week of December 18-23, 2023 with 23.9 million views. It was again number 1 the following week, when it added 34 million more views. In the first week of January, “Rebel Moon” slipped to second place but added another 11.8 million views.

What is the robot in Rebel Moon? ›

JC-1435, known more simply as James or Jimmy, was a sentient machine who was designed centuries ago to defend the royals of the Motherworld as part of the Mechanicas Militarium. He was voiced by Anthony Hopkins and made his debut in A Child of Fire. He will appear once more in The Scargiver.

Is Rebel Moon 2 as bad as 1? ›

As the unanimously negative reviews of both Rebel Moon movies suggest, the film series is not as groundbreaking as it was initially touted to be. While the first Rebel Moon movie sits at an underwhelming Rotten Tomatoes critics' score of 21%, the second one ranks even lower with its score of 18%.

Which is better, Rebel Moon 1 or 2? ›

REBEL MOON: PART TWO Described As "Marginally Better Than PART ONE" In First Reactions.

How much of Rebel Moon 2 is Slow Mo? ›

What follows is 70-minutes of slog. Slow-motion scenes of characters farming, even more exposition, and loud explosions. Rebel Moon – Part One deserves some credit in that it did have some scenes that looked cool, and were full of action (even if it was senseless).

What happened at the end of Rebel Moon Part 2? ›

Gunnar: Died after saving Kora in every way

After warmhearted Gunnar breaks through Kora's heart defenses, the fighting farmer saves her life in the big battle. But Gunnar succumbs to his wounds, dying in Kora's arms right after victory is secure.

What is the story of Rebel Moon explained? ›

The film is set in a fictional galaxy ruled by the imperialistic Motherworld, whose military, the Imperium, threatens a farming colony on the moon of Veldt. Kora, a former Imperium soldier, ventures on a quest to recruit warriors from across the galaxy to make a stand against the Imperium before they return to Veldt.

Is there a part 2 to the movie Rebel Moon? ›

A week after it began a limited theatrical run in the U.S., Netflix released Rebel Moon – Part Two: The Scargiver on April 19, 2024. Like its predecessor, it received generally negative reviews from critics.

Is the second Rebel Moon better? ›

According to the film magazine, the sequel is "marginally better than Rebel Moon – Part One, but still a weird, messy and humourless sci-fi".

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