In Review: Rebel Moon Part 2 – The Scargiver

Review by Tim Robins


The rebels gear up for battle against the ruthless forces of the Motherworld as unbreakable bonds are forged, heroes emerge — and legends are made.

Rebel Moon Part 2 - The Scargiver - art by Fraser Geesin
Art by Fraser Geesin

I have waited so long to review Rebel Moon Part 2 – The Scargiver (aka RMP2TSG) that I now feel like a hyena turning up to a carcass that’s already been picked clean by culture vultures. Although the reason for the delay was because I’d got the impression that watching Zack Snyder’s space opera would be like seeing a dog return to its own vomit.  But I think critics are barking up the wrong tree, because RMP2TSG is no worse than part one. 

This part (episode? sequel?) begins with Kora (Sofia Boutella) and her bunch of deeply uninteresting rebels returning triumphantly to the moon of Veldt, in the mistaken belief their troubles are over. They aren’t. Soon they learn that their Imperium foes and their dreaded… er…dreadnaught are coming back in five days (whatever length of time that is). Titus (Djimon Hounsou), a former general in the Imperium, must rally the hamlet (and believe me, there is plenty of ham) against the oncoming forces led by – spoiler alert! – Attikus Noble (Ed Skrein).

Rebel Moon Part 2 - The Scargiver Poster
Rebel Moon Part 2 - The Scargiver

The hamlet’s greatest weapon is not the former Imperium’s weapons left tucked away for a rainy day in space but the grain. There’s a lot of grain, so much grain to be harvested, so much grain to be milled, so much tipping of the grain into sacks, all sometimes shot in slow motion. The direction waxes lyrical about the grain, but in the end it is just so much chaff because the frankly rude Noble has a more important mission – to capture Kora, “The Scargiver”.

I have no idea why Noble wants to bestow such a kick ass name on his greatest foe. Sure, she left him with a scar. But it’s not an interesting scar or even a cliched scar. It’s more of a blemish. It’s not even dramatically slashed across his face but instead discreetly placed on his chest so, most of the time, isn’t even a visible-to-others reminder of his humiliation. That is, unless he unbuttons his tunic, which he does every now and then. But the scar still just looks like sunburn, or a nasty rash. “A scar from The Scargiver herself!” exclaims Noble. 

(Wait, Kora was called the ‘Scargiver’ before she gave Noble the scar? This line of dialogue makes no sense – perhaps it just sounded cool in Snyder’s mind).

Rebel Moon Part 2 - The Scargiver

Anyway, the game is on. The villagers must harvest the grain. They only have three days to do so. “The work begins at dawn!” shouts Titus. “You heard the man  DAWN!” shouts a villager with a beard (so many beards). Now, I don’t know about you, but I grew up in a farming community and have a farmer as a member of my God-Family, and one thing I have noticed is that farmers don’t hang about to enjoy a good night’s kip when there’s work to be done. Waiting until dawn is not a thing. But in the lily white handed world of the Snyderverse, farmers must wait until dawn because “The work begins at dawn!” sounds really cool and hardcore.

With five days until the Imperium forces arrive and three days to harvest the grain (so much grain), that leaves a day or so to train the villagers in the art of war (have the biggest guns in a fight) and tunnel building for that all important element of surprise. Strangely, the Imperium’s scanners can see through a longhouse (where the women and children are hiding out) but not through planks of wood and a smattering of soil. And surely trench-ish warfare can’t work if the enemy has the high ground i.e. the sky. Oh, forget that, the enemy has decided to land.

Before the enemy arrives, the rebels sit around a table and share their profoundly boring life stories. “Everyone must share the truth!”, we’re told. Couldn’t everyone just not share the truth because their truth telling abilities are really dull, and, of course, are shot in slow motion (So much slow motion!). At the end, there’s a ceremony for the fallen in battle, “We honour them now, in the only way we can, by remembering their names!” I honestly couldn’t remember any of their names.

Rebel Moon Part 2 - The Scargiver
Rebel Moon Part 2 - The Scargiver

RMP2TSG is just wearying, and a string of cliches. Worse, Snyder seems so bored with the cliches that he can barely be bothered to film them. So you can bet there’s a training montage, but the only bit of training I can recall was a character being told not to close her eyes when she shoots. Sage advice indeed. Of course, women and children will be mostly kept safe in the Longhouse because, in the face of total war, the last thing you’d expect is for women and children to join in the battle.

In the end, it turns out that Noble doesn’t even want the grain when he can have ‘The Scargiver’. Noble is just full of hot air, although a gas bag rather than a wind bag. Snyder’s writing for the other male characters is often laugh out loud silly. These are manly men doing manly things which means they are only true to themselves when they are roaring at each other (so much roaring). Rargh! Raargh! And thrice Raargh! Coff, coff, gasp.

Rebel Moon Part 2 - The Scargiver

I did warm to the Rebel Moon-iverse’s steampunk aesthetic, even if seeing men shovelling coal to keep the dreadnought flying didn’t bear thinking about. There is also a spooky robot dressed like a druid hanging out behind a waterfall. Like a lot of the ‘characters”, the robot reminded me of something that might be found in the pages of 2000AD  decades ago, when a character looking “cool” was all that seemed to matter. 

The grain McGuffin has been lifted from Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai (1954), also the inspiration for The Magnificent Seven (1960). Some have criticised all the harvesting and suggested trading in grain seems a little implausible for a world spanning empire of the future. I was about to follow suit, then I remembered the Star Trek story, “The Trouble with Tribbles” (1967), in which the U.S.S. Enterprise is tasked with delivering a shipment of grain.

Snyder is a bit like Michael Bay or Roland Emmerich. He has a vision and can marshal the resources to see it through to the screen. It’s just the vision is warmed over and a little precious. Part Three will focus on finding a missing princess. 

I think I’ve found her. He’s behind the camera.

Tim Robins

Rebel Moon: Moon House of the Bloodaxe (Titan Comics, 2024)

• Rebel Moon, Part One: A Child of Fire  and Rebel Moon, Part Two, The Scaregiver are available on Netflix now

• The collected edition of Rebel Moon: Moon House of the Bloodaxe, the four-issue tie-in prequel comic, which launched in January , will be released by Titan Comics in August 2024 | #4 is released next week | Preorder the collection here from AmazonUK (Affiliate Link)

As war is looming on the horizon on the planet Shasu, the leader of the Bloodaxe family is conflicted between living up to his father’s domineering legacy and maintaining the peace. It is up to him to settle the conflicts within himself, and his family, before the entire planet erupts in war.

Read Tim Robins’ review of Rebel Moon – Part One: A Child of Fire

Categories: British Comics, Comics, Features, Film, Other Worlds, Reviews, Science Fiction

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