After much anticipation, Zack Snyder’s latest film, Rebel Moon: Part One — A Child of Fire, has premiered worldwide on Netflix. This film is set in a galaxy ruled by the oppressive Motherworld and its leader, the Regent Balisarius (Fra Fee), who rose to power after the royal family was assassinated at Princess Issa’s coronation. The story follows Kora (Sofia Boutella), a former soldier-turned-fugitive who gathers fighters from across the galaxy to defend her new home of Veldt from an invasion by the Motherworld’s military, the Imperium, which is led by the sadistic Admiral Atticus Noble (Ed Skrein).
Snyder sets up an epic and ambitious space opera with this first of two films. There’s quite a lot to digest in the film, which only scratches the surface of the immense world that the director and his team have built up. So as the world waits for Part Two, let’s unpack everything seen in Rebel Moon: Part One — A Child of Fire.
The inciting incident shows Noble appearing in Kora’s farm village, demanding that everyone supply him and his soldiers with food from their harvest as they search for the rebels led by Devra (Cleopatra Coleman) and Darrian Bloodaxe (Ray Fisher). Asserting his dominance, Noble kills the chief and his wife and leaves his soldiers to occupy the village with the help of their robot knight, Jimmy (Anthony Hopkins), who once served the Slain King of the Motherworld. But after Kora and Jimmy revolt against their oppressors, the former decides to leave with her friend, Gunnar (Michiel Huisman), to recruit fighters to fend off Noble’s return.
During their journey, Kora reveals that Balisarius, before he became Regent, adopted her when she was a child, after he invaded her planet and killed her parents. As she trained and fought for the Motherworld, she was promoted to the elite bodyguard of the benevolent Princess Issa. During this time, Kora learned that Issa was blessed with the power to heal the wounded and even revive the dead, revealing that some great magic exists in this vast universe. Since Issa was expected to end the Motherworld’s centuries of conflict as Queen, Kora feels especially guilty for her tragic death.
Eventually, Kora assembles a team that includes former Imperium General Titus (Djimon Hounsou), mercenary pilot Kai (Charlie Hunman), beast tamer Tarak (Staz Nair), cyborg samurai Nemesis (Doona Bae), Darrian Bloodaxe, and his Darrian’s confidant, Milius (E. Duffy). Before they decide to return to Veldt, Kai requests to finish one final job so he can leave his life as a thief behind. But to quote the late great Admiral Ackbar, “It’s a trap.”
Kai reveals himself to be a bounty hunter and has tricked Kora into recruiting wanted fighters so he can deliver them all to the Imperium, making him a far more twisted version of Han Solo (the anti-Solo, if you will). When Noble arrives to collect them all, Gunnar outsmarts Kai and kills him while freeing his allies. A massive battle ensues, and Darrian sacrifices himself to take down an Imperium warship. The battle culminates with Kora facing Noble in hand-to-hand combat, beating the Admiral to a bloody pulp and sending him plummeting into the ocean.
As a result of Noble’s “death,” his dreadnought is ordered to exit Veldt’s orbit, freeing Kora’s village from the Imperium’s control. After all this, the heroes may not have fought their enemies on Veldt as planned, but it is implied that they all will make this land their new home. It’s a surprising twist that ends with Kora and the villagers winning their freedom, at least for the time being.
Rebel Moon ends with the Imperium recovering Noble and hooking his cyborg body to a device that restarts it. While he is treated, Noble has a vision in which he speaks to Balisarius, who demands that he bring Kora to him or face the consequences. So even though Kora won her battle against Noble, he will surely return to Veldt to finish the war in Part Two.
Since this is only Part One, audiences likely have lingering questions about the story and its characters. Fortunately, fans can look forward to seeing yet another extended, R-rated cut from Snyder that should fill in some blanks when it streams in early 2024. “It’s almost like a different movie. It’s almost a different universe that [the R-rated cut] lives in than this movie,” Snyder said to the Associated Press.
Also, just after the film’s streaming premiere, Netflix released a trailer for Rebel Moon: Part Two, which shows Kora and her team training the people of her village to fight against the Imperium. Based on all this, the sequel is shaping up to be a thrilling final battle between the rebels and the Motherworld, and audiences can expect to see it on April 19, 2024.
Rebel Moon–Part One: The Child of Fire is now streaming on Netflix.
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