Netflix’s New Sci-Fi Sequel Is Supposed To Be Like Star Wars, But Ends Up Living In An Amish Paradise

By Joshua Tyler | Updated

If you’re the kind of person who’d believe a galactic empire would be so desperately reliant on the grain produced by one tiny village that they’d be afraid to blast it to smithereens, then Rebel Moon – Part Two: The Scargiver is the movie for you.

Most of the movie’s plot works on that sort of half-thought-out logic, and it only works if you’re half-watching the movie while dopamine-looping Instagram models on your phone (I assume this is how most Zack Snyder fans spend their time). In that sense, perhaps the Rebel Moon movie series is the perfect entertainment product for the modern age. It’s the first film that works best if you’re doing other things while you watch it.

And believe me, Rebel Moon – Part Two leaves you plenty of time to devote to reading X posts from delusional Snyder fans on your smartphone. The first thirty-five minutes are almost entirely filled with borderline stock footage of humble villagers threshing grain and dancing in taverns. It’s as if writer/director Zack Snyder found B-roll from Weird Al’s Amish Paradise video in a dusty old 90s archive and decided it was a perfect fit for his new sci-fi movie.

Sofia Boutella as Kora in Rebel Moon- Part Two: The Scargiver review
Sofia Boutella as Kora in Rebel Moon- Part Two: The Scargiver

You could argue these scenes exist to develop our characters and the village so that when the big battle happens, we’ll care about their continued existence. Except this is Rebel Moon – Part Two, not Rebel Moon – Part One. We have already spent two hours of Rebel Moon – Part One wandering around this village and meeting these characters. If the audience doesn’t care about them by now, they never will.

As a method to make us care, these scenes fail. Much of the grain harvest footage doesn’t show any faces. It plays like beautifully shot stock footage or the screen saver of a depressed office worker who dreams of being a farmer. If one day Zack Snyder comes out and admits it was AI-generated, I won’t be surprised at all.

Maybe this section of the movie could have gone faster if the villagers had something to use in their harvesting efforts besides pitchforks and a couple of machetes.  Even the Amish have more high-tech farming instruments. Yet somehow, in a universe where these same villagers have hover carts and go hunting with laser rifles, no one has managed to invent a tractor. 

Bae Doona in Rebel Moon- Part Two: The Scargiver

Eventually, the bad guy from the last movie shows up again to start attacking the village he’s been promising to attack since the last film. It’s at this point that Rebel Moon – Part 2 begins fulfilling its long-telegraphed intention to become a spacefaring version of Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai.

But Zack Snyder is not Akira Kurosawa. At one point, he was a promising and talented auteur with a unique and beautiful gift for creating visually interesting battles. Those days are long gone, and the Zack Snyder movie we’re left with operates like a Neil Breen movie upscaled on a big Hollywood budget. 

If you’re unaware of Neil Breen and his popularity, he’s an elderly real-estate agent turned independent filmmaker beloved for how impossibly bad his movies are. What makes Neil Breen really special and, in his own way, a national treasure is how blissfully unaware he is of the fact that people are laughing at him. He’s developed a cult following on the internet, and screenings of his movies are regularly packed with fans screaming at his bumbling ineptitude.

Neil Breen in Cade: The Tortured Crossing
Neil Breen in Cade: The Tortured Crossing

Zack Snyder, who also has a devoted cult following, seems every bit as unaware of how terrible he’s become as Neil Breen is. Breen shows up at screenings and somehow never manages to hear the peels of laughter directed at his unintentionally hilarious work. Similarly, Snyder appears utterly unaware of how utterly boring and lazy he is or how disinterested the general public has become in what he’s doing. 

In a bizarre big-budget mirroring of Neil Breen’s recently released effort, Cade: The Tortured Crossing, every scene in Rebel Moon – Part Two looks like it was shot in front of a green screen. The frightening thing about this is that I’m pretty sure big chunks of it were shot on location or on partial sets, yet somehow Snyder has managed to post-process these moments until his characters look as if they’re standing in front of recently purchased Shutterstock backgrounds.

Nothing in Rebel Moon – Part Two makes any more sense than futuristic farmers riding around on hover-sleds harvesting crops with kitchen knives while spaceships zoom overhead. 

Actual royal family, not LARPers, from Rebel Moon – Part Two

At least there are battles. Not good ones, but battles do exist.

Some of those battles involve spaceships. The biggest must have been designed by watching the 80s anime Star Blazers and copying the Space Battleship Yamato, and then removing all the cool parts of that aircraft carrier-turned-space cruiser before putting it in Snyder’s film.

The sheer amount of ineptitude behind the movie’s action sequences is perhaps the most shocking thing about Rebel Moon – Part Two: The Scargiver. This is a movie made by the man who filmed 300 after all. No matter what you think of all the slow-motion copycats since then, there’s no denying 300 delivers gritty and compelling battles.

Rebel Moon part two review

Rebel Moon – Part Two is incapable of that. Oh sure, Zack Snyder uses a lot of the same slow-motion tricks, but the eye-popping artistry he combined those with in past efforts is totally gone.

In their place is the most badly done, obviously staged, fight choreography I’ve seen on screen in years. And it’s a Snyder film, so it’s all in slow motion. That means you’ll have plenty of time to notice that axe blade bounced off its intended victim like it was made of rubber rather than sinking into flesh. Or that most of those punches didn’t connect. It’s just a stuntman punching air. 

Or that every time the teeny girl with no muscles (Sofia Boutella) mimes punching someone, they don’t so much get rocked by the force of her hit as they do fling themselves backward into a wall. I’m not sure why the movie’s space villains would help her out like that. Maybe they want her to feel good about the attempt.

The movie’s score is as poorly planned out as its fights. One minute the music is going full Star Wars, the next you’re in a Hobbit village dancing to Enya. None of Snyder’s choices make any sense.

Djimon Honsou in Rebel Moon - Part Two: The Scargiver
Djimon Honsou in Rebel Moon – Part Two: The Scargiver

Also, Djimon Honsou is in this movie and is good at acting. He’s wasted but gives a good speech or two.

There’s a cool robot, beautifully designed and with a penchant for wearing antlers for no discernible reason. Unlike in the first movie where the robot stood around watching, he does do something cool in this one. Fast forward to the end of Rebel Moon – Part 2 if you’re watching it because you’ve been waiting for that.

Otherwise, stream Rebel Moon – Part Two and start answering your email. If you only watch it out of the corner of your eye while doing something else, you might think it’s not that bad.

Rebel Moon's robot finally does something cool
Rebel Moon’s robot finally does something cool

But it is that bad. Rebel Moon – Part Two operates on the level of the last few movies made by McG before Hollywood finally put a bullet in his career (Anyone remember his terrible Terminator movie? That was better than this). It’s like watching a really bad Chronicles of Riddick knockoff if Vin Diesel and his photogenic muscles were replaced by a marble-mouthed toothpick in a bloody tank top.

Zack Snyder has made good movies. I’ve long been a defender of both Watchmen and Man of Steel. The director who made those movies is long gone. Now he’s a joke without a punch line, and after this Rebel Moon debacle, I have a hard time imagining any studio investing large amounts of money with him again.