Jupiter Ascending

Jupiter Ascending ★★½

Jupiter Ascending’s characters are flat, one-dimensional, speak either in exposition or banal platitudes that smack you in the face with messages about captitalism or true love or whatnot. Jupiter Ascending’s plot is meaningless exposition, ridiculous names and titles, convoluted politics and warring factions, and fairy tale simplicity. It’s a movie with an extended DMV joke. It’s a movie where you care about no one and nothing. Not as bad as Valerian in that department, due to its pulpy sci-fi silliness and a consistent tone, but it’s flawed in the same ways

But it also has the same strengths as Valerian: a nonstop rush of cool visuals and new worlds and huge concepts and endless world-building. Jupiter Ascending is space opera pulp brought to life with $176 million dollars. It’s a movie where the scale is such that the entirety of human history is rendered insignificant, where eons-old galactic dynasties vye for planets, where spaceships look like steampunk cathedrals. Every action scene is imbued with that kind of clarity and kinetic direction that the Wachowskis excel at, but the best sequence occurs early in the film, a breathless chase across Chicago that flows from aerial foot chase to ship pursuit to ship battle.