At first glance, Jupiter Ascending is a fascinating film. It hints at a grand scope of intergalactic intrigue with incredible world-building. For example, we see some typical “grey” aliens used as minions to higher powers, which seems fascinating. This movie appears to be a peek into the vastness of a larger, interconnected universe full of interesting futuristic ideas that we as the audience can’t wait to delve into.
However, there are so many aspects of this movie that drag it down. So many. The biggest problem is that the character of Jupiter is awful. Mila Kunis doesn’t inject much into this role, and the character herself just seems to go along with anything. ‘You want me to stake my claim as a galactic royal without knowing the consequences? Sure! Hey creepy space lord, you want me to marry you for no good reason (and plenty of bad)? Sure!” And don’t even get me started on the complete lack of chemistry between her and Channing Tatum, and how badly they try to force feed us a romance between the two. Oh and I almost forgot how they tried to parallel her origin with Cinderella, which was a bloody joke.
I first knew this movie was going poorly right after the ship battle in downtown Chicago. I thought, interesting, so now the world will know of the existence of this larger universe. Nope, they Men-in-Black it by having the buildings immediately rebuilt. What a cop out.
Atop terrible lines of dialogue and the ridiculousness of Tatum’s hovershoes, we also get very tonally odd scenes like anything with Jupiter’s real family and cousin and a strange part where Jupiter tries to get her royalty sanctioned in a scene that seems straight out of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
And in the end, the whole thing boils down to a basic “i kidnapped someone you care about” plot and generic action and fight scenes.
But here’s why this movie really makes me mad. It gave me the taste for a really space saga, filled with intrigue, politics, and grandeur. A desire for a rich cosmic tapestry with a story worth telling amidst a world filled with interesting sci-fi ideas, locations, and societal intricacies. This may have at one stage been that movie. But it wasn’t. It really wasn’t.