Movies

Rebel Moon – Part Two: The Scargiver Review: Zack Snyder’s Netflix Sequel Is An Adrenaline Rush That Partially Redeems Its Predecessor

Co-writer/director Zack Snyder’s Star Wars inspired epic Rebel Moon was always intended to debut in two parts released months apart. That plan ended up putting a damper on Part One – A Child of Fire, as it the movie didn’t satisfy as a full story and felt incomplete .

Rebel Moon – Part Two: The Scargiver

Jimmy stands in a cave, while wearing his crown, in Rebel Moon - Part Two: The Scargiver.

(Image credit: Netflix)

Release Date: April 19, 2024
Directed By: Zack Snyder
Written By: Zack Snyder & Kurt Johnstad & Shay Hatten
Starring: Sofia Boutella, Djimon Hounsou, Ed Skrein, Michiel Huisman, Doona Bae, Anthony Hopkins, Staz Nair, Fra Fee, Cleopatra Coleman, Stuart Martin, Ingvar Sigurðsson, Alfonso Herrera, Cary Elwes, Rhian Rees, Elise Duffy, Sky Yang, Charlotte Maggi, and Ray Fisher.
Rating: PG-13 for sequences of strong violence, brief strong language and suicide.
Runtime: 122 minutes

With Rebel Moon: Part Two – The Scargiver, the faults of its predecessor aren’t completely corrected, but they are mitigated thanks to the next piece of the puzzle being the adrenaline rush that fans of Snyder’s work expect. Featuring all of the battle scenes you would have hoped to see the first time out, the sequel is undoubtedly the better individual release.

“Individual” is the important caveat in this unique case, as once again, Rebel Moon’s narrative is the latter half of a two-part adventure. The independent releases make it both easier to compartmentalize the separate films but also more difficult to decide whether either one stands on its own or not. That being said, the continuing tale of Kora (Sofia Boutella) and her rag tag group of warriors plays a lot better in this part of the story. 

The Scargiver is obviously aided by the basic foundation setting up the conflict between Kora and her seemingly dead nemesis, Atticus Noble (Ed Skrein) was established in A Child of Fire. Still, however, it delivers a pay off to the setup while also putting some interesting pieces on the board for the potential future of the franchise. 

Rebel Moon – Part Two: The Scargiver is a significant improvement over A Child Of Fire.

Zack Snyder is a director who knows action, and he executes the best ideas of Rebel Moon in Part Two: The Scargiver. The quest to defend the planet Veldt from The Imperium comes into focus in the film, and the action is more plentiful, with big battles full of explosions. Rebel Moon’s main band of heroes and even some of its supporting characters are made worth following in the sequel. 

While A Child of Fire introduced the characters through moments that felt like they were built for the development of tie-in media, this second part fleshes them out and provides more depth. For example, the introduction of Doona Bae’s Nemesis in Rebel Moon – Part One:  A Child of Fire lacks proper context and feels jammed into the narrative, the sequel provides more insight into her past along with scenes where she warms up to the community she’s sworn to defend. It’s a positive, but it also further suggests that the two-part release could have been executed better. 

Rebel Moon – Part Two: The Scargiver is fun enough that it made me want to revisit A Child of Fire – though it’s not clear if combining the two halves would make for a cohesive whole, in part because we still haven’t seen Zack Snyder’s full vision.

The Scargiver doesn’t feel as noticeably restrained in its PG-13 form as its predecessor, but you can still tell there’s more to come.

Another massive issue I had with Rebel Moon – Part One: A Child of Fire is that it had clearly been edited to achieve a PG-13 rating. Scenes of violence and sexual content were obviously altered to be appropriate for all audiences, and the promise of future R-rated cuts suggested instant obsolescence. Why would you want to watch a PG-13 movie when you could wait for the full, more mature version reflecting the full vision of the filmmaker? 

Part Two doesn’t feel like you’re watching a TV edit. While there are still moments that read as being carefully constructed for this version – such as a scene of romance between Kora and Gunnar (Michiel Huisman) – that unique Rebel Moon flaw isn’t as obvious in The Scargiver. This is in part thanks to the momentum of the story and action being more captivating. With the story moving at a faster pace and with more purpose, the censorship isn’t as clear.

That being said, there are still holes that one hopes the extended cuts of Rebel Moon will fill. If you were frustrated about the lack of story surrounding noble mechanical knight Jimmy (Anthony Hopkins/Dustin Ceithamer) in A Child of Fire, you’ll still be scratching your head about it the end of The Scargiver. It’s cool to see Jimmy fighting in the trenches, but apparently learning more about why and how he’s able to do so will have to wait for another day. 

My optimism for the Rebel Moon franchise is cautious, but The Scargiver’s adrenaline-fueled storyline has left me hopeful.

The ambitions of Zack Snyder’s new Netflix franchise are still a work in progress, but I’m cautiously optimistic about where things are heading. There’s still a potential for some of Star Wars’ greatest weaknesses to crop up in further installments – with one such mistake being hinted at in the conclusion of Rebel Moon – Part Two. Without getting into spoilers, for a series that’s supposed to be an uninhibited thought experiment riffing on George Lucas’ mythic creation, the past mistakes of the classic science-fiction franchise threaten to resurface here.

Rebel Moon – Part Two: The Scargiver inspires hope for the future because of the strong visual language of Zack Snyder. The sequel feels more like a Snyder movie than Part One did, and I’d like to think the message of letting Snyder cook is getting through to the higher-ups at Netflix. But that’s a more question that’ll be left unanswered until the proposed threequel in this saga arrives.

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