Rebel Moon: Part One - A Child of Fire, directed by Zack Snyder, has received controversial early reviews on Netflix.
The film is currently struggling to break past a 30% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Some reviews have provided valuable technical and execution feedback, while others have focused on personal feelings rather than professional criticism.
What is it with the Zack Snyder hate and every one of his films breaking the internet for better or worse? His latest effort, Rebel Moon: Part One – A Child of Fire, isn’t even out yet on Netflix, but the early reviews have created enough controversy that harks back to an unbearable time on Film Twitter where it was impossible to discuss the DC Extended Universe in a rational manner. As it stands, Rebel Moon is sitting in the compost heap on Rotten Tomatoes, struggling to break past the 30% approval mark.
Now, let’s get something clear here: If the movie isn’t good, it isn’t good. There’s nothing wrong with reviewing a movie and admitting it doesn’t work. In fact, some of the Rebel Moon reviews have highlighted genuine problems with the film on a technical level and in terms of execution, and that sort of feedback is invaluable to both viewers and producers. What is a problem, though, is when the criticism becomes about personal feelings rather than professional criticism.
Is Zack Snyder Michaelangelo the painter or Michaelangelo the Ninja Turtle? It depends on who you ask, really. A nuanced view on the subject would be that he has his own unique visual style that doesn’t always connect with the general audience. He’s a polarising filmmaker, to say the least.
To call him the worst, though, is showing that people don’t watch enough movies and are looking for clicks through hyperbolic and outrageous statements. One reviewer – someone who is paid to write about movies for a living – wrote how Rebel Moon is the only movie they walked out of because it’s “so bad.” Again, this is someone whose job it is to write about a movie – for better or worse – and disrespected everyone who worked on the film (not just Snyder), the publicist who invited them to a press preview, and even their own audience just to post a cute online flex.
Truthfully speaking, the Zack Snyder hate is a low-hanging fruit for generating clicks. The filmmaker is an easy target to write hate pieces on because he gets so much traction online. While a reasonable person might post, “Rebel Moon didn’t work for me for X, Y, and Z reasons,” a click-monger will write: “OMG! Rebel Moon is so bad that I walked out and needed to bleach my eyes. It’s the worst movie in the world.” It’s like this person has never seen any of the Netflix Original films before…
Let’s get one thing straight here: It’s okay to like things. Even if the majority of people hate a movie, it’s fine to say, “Well, I enjoyed it,” without providing an explanation or reason. Art is subjective and one person’s trash is another’s treasure, and don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise.
Being a fan of a filmmaker’s body of work is also okay, and it’s no secret Zack Snyder has a legion of followers. Some of these fans are great human beings who simply enjoy movies, while others love to stir up trouble online and behave like a bunch of morons. Again, this is no different than the people who support directors like Wes Anderson or Denis Villeneuve. Every fandom has its share of weirdos who take things too far and cross lines because they hide behind cartoon avatars.
Yet, to tar an entire fanbase with the same brush is myopic. There have been Rebel Moon reviews that paint out Snyder fans as troglodytes – or worse – almost as if it’s a crime to love something that critics dare to scoff at. It’s a divisive attitude that perpetuates elitism in something that should be about celebration and community. There’s enough of that in the world as it is – do we really need that in entertainment as well?
Yeah, some of the Snyder Cut supporters behaved in atrocious and embarrassing ways, but it wasn’t everyone. Are we rewriting history to forget how they raised money for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention?
Historically, showbiz has elevated many sordid and repulsive individuals, giving them power and a grand platform to abuse and mistreat others. In fact, there are still known perpetrators working in the industry and people are turning a blind eye because they bring in money or make popular films. As far as it’s known, Zack Snyder isn’t one of these people. His biggest crime? Making edgy films that don’t have bright colours.
Judging by the contents of these hit pieces, Snyder pushed a few too many grandmothers down the stairs or set fire to an orphanage. The criticism goes beyond the film to the actual man and his fanbase, as if these writers take gleeful joy in tearing it all down.
There’s a saying in football: “Play the ball, not the man.” The same is applicable to film criticism. Rebel Moon might not be a good movie and Snyder is directly responsible as the director of the film, but for heaven’s sake, lay off the filmmaker and his fanbase as people here. The Zack Snyder hate is getting old now.
What is it with the Zack Snyder hate? Have your say in the comments section below.
Rebel Moon: Part One - A Child of Fire
When a peaceful settlement on the edge of a distant moon finds itself threatened by the armies of a tyrannical ruling force, a mysterious stranger living among its villagers becomes their best hope for survival.
Running Time: 2h 13m
Release Date: December 22, 2023
Cast: Sofia Boutella, Djimon Hounsou, Ed Skrein, Michiel Huisman, Bae Doona, Ray Fisher, Charlie Hunnam, Anthony Hopkins
Sergio Pereira is a prolific and recognised journalist and writer from Johannesburg, South Africa. His expertise encompasses the topics of comic books, film, television, and video games. For over 16 years, he has built up his reputation and knowledge in entertainment journalism by writing for and learning from the world's largest publications.
Sergio is also an accredited Rotten Tomatoes reviewer and has interviewed numerous celebrities, such as Andy Serkis, Ben Barnes, Idris Elba, Letitia Wright and Frank Miller. He is the author of the highly rated fantasy comedy novel The Not-So-Grim Reaper and numerous short stories. In addition, he is the co-writer of the South African crime drama film The Lifesaver. As a regular columnist, he contributes to Looper, Grunge, Screen Rant, Ranker, CBR, SYFY WIRE, IGN Africa, Thought Catalog and Fortress of Solitude.
For Sergio, all he wants in life is to see the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles eclipse the Justice League as the greatest heroes of all time. Then, he will sleep peacefully.