Rebel Moon – Part Two: The Scargiver Review

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Rating: 2.5/5

Synopsis: 

Zack Snyder continues his “Rebel Moon” series with “The Scargiver”. The previous installment introduced us to this world with mixed results. How does “Part Two” fare? The story picks up where “Part One” concluded, as Kora and the farmers prepare for war against The Motherworld. She must train them and learn about their perspective in this fight before Atticus Noble returns with his army. Can Kora and her new allies prevail? Or will The Motherworld reign supreme?

Positives:

Since “Part One” and “Part Two” were shot simultaneously, there is a certain flow to them. Most of my positives from the first film remain. I like the premise established, where an authoritarian government is intent on taking over all production of crops. But a lone warrior with a complex past must inspire the civilians to rise up and defend themselves against tyranny. The premise isn’t exactly new but it’s an entertaining one. Director Zack Snyder continues “Part Two” with more exposition on the characters Kora is fighting with. Each presents a motivation for wanting to get revenge on The Motherworld, giving some personal insight into their intent on joining Kora.

I also enjoyed that “Part Two” builds up to a grande finale battle. This is teased throughout the story and sets the stage for a tense, visceral fight. I enjoyed the payoff for the most part but still wish it was handled with more care. Zack Snyder knows how to establish big battle sequences with plenty of ferocity and grit. The final battle (while chaotic) was engaging enough to keep viewers interested in the confrontation between Kora and Noble. The scale of the battle feels appropriate with the story being told here. There is a powerful exchange between Noble and Kora before the war begins. It’s clear Kora has inspired the farmers to take a stand and defend their home planet. The film elevates itself in a good way as events start to unfold. 

Negatives:

I seemed to enjoy “Part One” more than most, so admittedly I was hoping the next film would improve upon everything. “Part Two” unfortunately doubles down on Snyder’s more divisive tendencies and creates a film that will likely discourage viewers from wanting to revisit this world. The story doesn’t have the same level of worldbuilding as the first film, instead focusing on quick exposition for a few characters. They all sit in a circle and explain why they’re in the fight and then…go fight. That’s basically the entire film. There is an odd complexity combined with simplicity that doesn’t flow very well. “Part One” at least set up a premise to build upon amidst its flaws. This film uses more slow motion, more exposition, and produces a battle that was a mixed bag for me. I don’t think the slow motion was used as egregiously as some critics have pointed out but it did feel a bit out of place. 

The final battle was also something I was looking forward to. Zack Snyder never falls short of spectacle and style when constructing fight sequences, so naturally I assumed this would be the highlight. But unfortunately this was one of the most forgettable battles I can remember in a film of this nature. Most of the characters are indiscernible while getting lost in the larger event. The action is choppy and chaotic most of the time. By the time Kora and Noble get their final confrontation, it leaves audiences wanting more. Granted, this was probably the best part of the battle as it raises the stakes and features some noteworthy blows to one another. But the conflict between the two isn’t built up well in “Part Two”. Snyder misses an opportunity to make this fight more personal between  them. He also leaves the film on a cliffhanger, indicating that there will be multiple films coming in the future. I certainly hope he can clean these “Rebel Moon” movies up or let someone else handle the writing because the series could be doomed if it continues on this path. 

Conclusion:

“The Scargiver” concluded the first portion of the “Rebel Moon” franchise on a whimper. It has some stylish elements infused with brutal battle sequences. But with a visionary like Snyder leaning into some of his worst tendencies, it’s hard to have hope that the future movies will be much better. He needs to take a pause, let others handle the writing, and get back on track with doing what he does best. Hopefully the story will continue providing epic battle sequences and fleshing out the world created in these films. But a hard course correction is needed in order to salvage the franchise. Another Snyder Cut won’t save this one unfortunately.