Rebel Moon – Part Two: The Scargiver is a better movie than the first part. The story moves along at a better pace, but it still shows the same issues that the first film had. It picks up right where Part One ended with General Noble recovered from his wounds, and the heroes returning to the village where it all started. Except this time, they’re notified of an attack that’s imminent. They have five days to prepare for the assault and get the villagers ready for combat. It’s a pretty standard sci-fi tale that gives some of the characters more to do than the first film, but takes away from others. Sofia Boutella stars as Kora alongside Michiel Huisman as Gunnar, Djimon Hounsou as Titus, Jena Malone as Harmada, Ed Skrein as General Noble, Staz Nair as Tarak, Bae Doona as Nemesis, and Fra Fee as Balisarius.

This time around, the story isn’t quite so stop-and-start with trying to find all the heroes and get them together, but new issues pop up, especially in the first half. The entire first half of the film is devoted to the training and arrival of the Realm’s forces. Normally, that wouldn’t be an issue, but it really sacrifices the characters and making us care about them, in the name of showing us just how Veldt is going to defend itself. An entire hour of the film likely could have been distilled down to just 15-20 minutes.

Then there’s the issue of some of the heroes getting a lot of backstory and others getting almost none. There’s a specific scene that is almost entirely devoted to showing you just who these people are and how they got here. Some, like Titus’s story, stick out and really hit hard. Others, like Nemesis’, get lost in the shuffle, and you’re supposed to care for a character that doesn’t really make you want to.

In the visual department, some of Rebel Moon – Part Two: The Scargiver looks really nice. Others do not. Most of the big ships or mechs end up looking pretty damn good. There’s a nice evil industrial vibe going on with the Realm’s vehicles. When they’re in motion, it doesn’t look fake. However, there are some strange landscape shots that make their way in; one in particular cuts from a very clearly CGI landscape that Jimmy is looking at to the closeup of Jimmy, which is very clearly on a set. Little things like this show the seams of the film that take you out of the action.

Thankfully, director Zack Snyder decided to use slow motion to a minimum in Part Two. When he does use it, it still feels gratuitous, but it’s not nearly as much as the “every single action scene” in the first part. As for the really good of Rebel Moon – Part Two: The Scargiver, the second half is thrilling. It’s nicely paced and ties up nicely, albeit for a sequel. Some of the more forgotten-about characters get their time to shine, and the final sequence between Kora and Noble is absolutely awesome.

Rebel Moon - Part Two: The Scargiver - Kora shoots at bad guys.

Djimon Hounsou’s turn as Titus stands so far and away above every other performance in the film. It feels like he’s living the character on screen rather than just acting. It’s fitting because his character was so neglected and underused in the first film. There is one performance that is troublesome. Fra Fee isn’t given a whole lot to work with as Emperor Balisarius. He’s only in the film for a short time during a flashback, but if this is the villain that they’re building towards, it’s hard to see how he even poses a threat to Kora. They do a tremendous job of making Noble seem like a threat, but the big baddie doesn’t get the same amount of attention.

At least with Rebel Moon – Part Two: The Scargiver, you have a more thrilling and tighter movie than the first. Once again, it doesn’t really feel like this movie needs a director’s cut, unless, of course, it was expanding out the characters a bit more than we get. But it could have used some trimming in the front half. It sets up for another sequel in the end with a new mission popping up. There are some really cool moments that you have to sit through to get to, but overall this is a much easier watch.

This does, however, feel like it could have benefitted from being just Zack Snyder’s original vision, with whatever content and rating he intended, instead of this version that we got.

Rebel Moon – Part Two: The Scargiver releases on Netflix on April 19th.

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