Rebel Moon Movie Reviews: Critics Share Mixed First Reactions

By Richard Nebens Updated:
Rebel Moon Movie Sofia Boutella

Critics shared a mixed round of reactions and reviews following the first screenings of Zack Snyder's newest movie, Rebel Moon.

Following his extended run on the DCEU, which concluded with 2021’s Zack Snyder’s Justice League, Snyder is back for an original space opera that moves him away from the superhero genre.

Featuring a cast of huge Hollywood names such as Djimon Hounsou, Charlie Hunnam, Ray Fisher, and Ed Skrein, Rebel Moon will only be the first part of a huge franchise for Snyder as he continues to build on this story of intergalactic rebellion.

Zack Snyder's Rebel Moon Part 1 Reviews & Reactions

Charlie Hunnam in Rebel Moon Part 1 movie

After the world premiere event for Zack Snyder's Rebel Moon, which debuts in a limited theatrical release on December 15 before moving to Netflix, critics shared their initial reactions to the new film on X (formerly Twitter).

These reactions were quite mixed in variety, some praising Snyder and his efforts while others weren't nearly as impressed with his newest film.

Next Best Pictures' Matt Neglia spotlighted the "clunky execution" of the movie, pointing out "unimpressive slow-mo action [and] dull characters:"

"'REBEL MOON - PART ONE: A CHILD OF FIRE' should’ve aligned with my predilection for epic storytelling but left me feeling detached. Zack Snyder’s clunky execution makes even the most basic drama feel tedious. Derivative sci-fi with unimpressive slow-mo action & dull characters."

CineXpress's Fico Cangiano called the movie a "fun, loving tribute" to franchises like Star Wars and Lord of the Rings (LOTR), teasing fans that it "will [definitely] have you on board for Part 2:"

"'Rebel Moon' is Zack Snyder's fun, loving tribute to the likes of Star Wars, 'LOTR,' 'Seven Samurai,' 'Gladiator,' etc. It looks, sounds & plays great, & even though it takes some time to take off, it will def have you on board for Part 2. Cool setup & worldbulding; lots of potential."

Brobible's Eric Italiano harshly admitted that Rebel Moon was "the first movie [he's] walked out of in a long, long time," specifically pointing out Snyder's direction of the acting as two of its biggest problems:

"'Rebel Moon' is the first movie I’ve walked out of in a long, long time 

a stunning dearth of drama, aggressive over-direction, and bad acting throughout 

an absolute buffet for Zack Snyder haters"

Screen Rant's Joe Deckelmeier heaped praise on the action and the cast, but he is already looking ahead to seeing what comes through in Snyder's director's cut:

"I loved the action in 'Rebel Moon' and this brilliant international cast, but I wish we spent more time with the rebel recruits. Zack Snyder’s director’s cut is the version I want."'s Brandon Davis "wanted to love Rebel Moon," but he felt the "ambitious story could’ve been better delivered""

"I wanted to love 'Rebel Moon' and *parts* of it I did, especially the end. It spends so much time assembling the team so getting to know the characters more in the extended cut will probably enhance it. It’s big on style but the ambitious story could’ve been better delivered."

Davis clarified in another post, that he "really enjoyed the last 30-40 minutes" of the film rather than simply enjoying the fact that the movie ended so he didn't have to watch it anymore:

"I don’t mean this in some dick-ish like 'I loved that it ended,' type way to clarify. I really enjoyed the last 30-40 minutes, more than the rest."

The Nerds of Color's Laura Sirikul called Rebel Moon "so much fun" while praising the fight scenes and action, specifically calling out Sofia Boutella as a star and crediting Snyder for "[creating] his own world:"

"'Rebel Moon' is so much fun. The fight scenes and action are fantastic. Sofia Boutella is a star! She's so amazing in this. I'm so glad Zack Snyder created his own world."

Screen Rant's Caitlin Tyrrell described the film as "a visually stunning sci-fi adventure," sharing her anticipation for the sequel:

"'Rebel Moon' is a visually stunning sci-fi adventure! The cast is phenomenal with epic action. Zack Snyder gets to fully explore a new world all his own. Can’t wait for Part 2!"

Will Rebel Moon Be Zack Snyder’s Latest Success?

Zack Snyder has not had an easy run in Hollywood since his time as a part of the DCEU. His films sometimes performed well financially but dropped off drastically in terms of reception.

After Zack Snyder’s Justice League became such a global phenomenon amongst DC fans and Snyder fans alike, the director is looking to take that success and hit the ground running with a fresh and original franchise.

Snyder will seemingly push into mature themes with Rebel Moon (even though the film only boasts a PG-13 rating), and it is clear that the critics are already waiting to find out how much darker and more mature his potential director's cut will be when that debuts at a later date.

Rumored to only be the first part of a full-blown trilogy for Snyder, Rebel Moon could score big on Netflix, especially with a few highly positive reactions coming from the first screening.

But with Snyder already all but confirming that a director's cut will come to light down the line, the theatrical cut's success could potentially be hindered due to some fans who want to wait it out to see Snyder's true vision realized.

Rebel Moon hits theaters for a limited big-screen run starting on Friday, December 15, and it will begin streaming on Netflix on Friday, December 22.

- In This Article: Rebel Moon
Release Date
December 22, 2023
Anthony Hopkins
Charlie Hunnam
Djimon Hounsou
Sofia Boutella
- About The Author: Richard Nebens
Richard Nebens joined The Direct in March 2020, now serving as the site's Senior Writer and also working as an assistant editor and content creator. He started his journalism career as a hobby in 2019 and is passionate about sharing news and stories from the entertainment industry, especially comic book movies, comedy, and sci-fi. Richard looks to expand his knowledge about movies and TV every day, and he is eager to stay locked into the latest releases and breaking news at every opportunity.