Rebel Moon Lands 23% Rotten Tomatoes Score, Critics Take Aim At ‘Banal’ & ‘Bewildering’ Space Opera

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Summary

  • Critics have issues with Zack Snyder’s approach to the space opera in the disappointing Rebel Moon – Part One, calling it derivative and lacking in compelling characters.
  • Some reviewers highlight the passion and visuals in Rebel Moon, but feel that the movie is overwhelmed by its own self-importance and lacks a coherent plot.
  • Overall, Rebel Moon – Part One receives low ratings and is seen as a stale retread of better material, leaving critics underwhelmed and disappointed.


The reviews for director Zack Snyder’s original, big-budget, sweeping Netflix space epic Rebel Moon – Part One: A Child of Fire are now. And, sadly, things are not looking good. Rebel Moon – Part One: A Child of Fire has debuted at just 23% on the review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes, with many critics taking aim at Snyder’s disappointing approach to the space opera.

While MovieWeb’s own Julian Roman found some enjoyment in the action sequences, he took issue with the sheer amount of Snyder’s patented slo-mo and the story’s derivative nature.

“The relatively simple plot has a one-note ensemble of ragtag revolutionaries that struggle to resonate with the audience. Initially slick action sequences become banal from the excessive use of slow motion cinematography. We’ve seen this all before and unfortunately done better […] the film isn’t remarkable in any regard. It’s a stale retread of better material and with dull characters. Kora and the gang aren’t interesting. You don’t root for them and that’s a weak foundation to build on.”

David Rooney of The Hollywood Reporter felt similarly, describing Rebel Moon as “leaden” and felt disappointed that the filmmaker has once again leaned into his worst tendencies.

“Just seconds into the leaden sci-fi saga Rebel Moon Part One: A Child of Fire, it’s clear the director is back to indulging his worst tendency for self-serious bombast.”

Variety’s Owen Gleiberman, meanwhile, did find Rebel Moon to be perfectly watchable, but felt it would be best suited for already established fans of the divisive director.

““Rebel Moon,” while eminently watchable, is a movie built so entirely out of spare parts that it may, in the end, be for Snyder cultists only.”

Robbie Collin of The Daily Telegraph was simply astounded at how, after an apparent two decades, Rebel Moon – Part One: A Child of Fire could feel so pointless.

“That even after a reported 20 years in the making the film still feels fundamentally pointless isn’t just disappointing, it’s entirely bewildering.”

RogerEbert.com’s Simon Abrams gives Rebel Moon just one out of four, comparing the movie to a pitch.

““Rebel Moon” often looks more like an animated pitch for a movie than an actual movie with human characters, urgent drama, emotional stakes, and so forth.”

The low ratings continue with The Guardian’s Charles Bramesco, who says Snyder largely “mistakes exposition for world-building.”

“Snyder mistakes exposition for world-building, the lugubriously delivered reams of backstory removing the audience from the fantasy rather than immersing them in it.”

RELATED: Zack Snyder’s Rebel Moon R-Rated Cut “Shouldn’t Exist” According to the Director


It’s Not All Negative When It Comes to Rebel Moon

There have been some positives, however, with Total Film’s Neil Smith praising the passion and visuals.

“Snyder’s passion project risks becoming subsumed by its own self-importance, but delivers bombastic mayhem and grandiose visuals by the bucket-load.”

Screen Rant’s Rachel LaBonte, while critical of the movie overall, did commend the sheer level of ideas on display.

“With Rebel Moon, Zack Snyder is positively bursting with exciting ideas, but they lack compelling characters and a solid plot to hold them up.”

JoBlo’s Chris Bumbray concludes by calling Rebel Moon – Part One: A Child of Fire a “very solid” addition to the space opera genre.

“While undeniably derivative (more of The Magnificent Seven/ Seven Samurai than Star Wars), Rebel Moon is nonetheless wildly entertaining and a very solid space opera.”

While we await the audience response, David Ehrlich of indieWire sums up the critical reaction.

“A movie that feels like a million isolated storyboards without a single thing welding them together.”

Rebel Moon – Part One: A Child of Fire is due to debut on December 21, 2023, on Netflix. A sequel, Rebel Moon – Part Two: The Scargiver, is set to be released on April 19, 2024. Check out the trailer below:

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