There's a whole complex legal system that Jupiter and her allies have to navigate alongside the conflicting plots of the three Abrasax heirs. It can be challenging to keep up with, particularly when certain elements that would benefit from further explanation do not get it. Jupiter Ascending doesn't just require repeat viewings: it rewards them. Little details that slip under the radar on first viewing reveal themselves. As convoluted as the story appears to be at first, a second go at the film clarifies most of the questions raised about character motivations. The structural irregularities remain, but take on a new aspect: rather than seem like a failure of convention, it appears more like throwback to an older style of fairytale narrative. The tone of the film may be off-putting to many - there is camp and humour, but no irony - and it's also extremely self-indulgent. Dated clichés of angst-ridden warriors, lizard men, and little grey aliens with saucer eyes rub shoulders with a metaphor condemning the seeming invincibility of the super-rich making their fortunes on the suffering of others. The flaws are jarring, but the pleasures of Jupiter Ascending are manifold.
David Sugarman | @ShugZ