The Martian Review

Matt Damon in "The Martian"
Matt Damon in “The Martian”

Interstellar 2: Cast Away In Space (The Martian) is a heavily entertaining and most importantly, fun movie. It signals a return to form for Ridley Scott, who has had trouble finding the right note with audiences as of late. I think Scott knew he had to make a crowd pleaser, this movie is just so uplifting and positive, almost to a fault. It doesn’t matter that much because The Martian has excellent acting, direction, cinematography, and writing. The movie fires on all cylinders, it’s just a great popcorn movie.
Matt Damon plays Mark Watney, an astronaut who is stranded on Mars after a mission goes wrong. Watney’s resiliency and will to survive were pushed to the brink as he attempted to survive on Mars long enough for rescue. As I’ve already implied, The Martian is basically Cast Away in space and there’s nothing wrong with that. Damon shines in the role, he’s such a likable actor so it helps that audiences get to watch him survive on a barren planet with a smile and a corny joke. I wasn’t expecting this film to be hilarious. I never thought a survival film could ever be this funny, Matt Damon is perfect for this role. Damon plays the over-confident, wise-ass part to perfection, but he does so in a way that doesn’t make him seem like a douchebag, which is important.
Matt Damon may be the lead actor in The Martian, but he is not the only one who stole the show. Jessica Chastain, Chiwetel Ejiofor(I spelled that right) Kate Mara, Kristen Wiig, Jeff Daniels, Michael Pena, Sean Bean, and even Donald Glover all have sizable parts in The Martian. I loved the supporting actors in this movie, so many of them were strong, well-developed characters. I’m going to go out and say it, Jeff Daniels is better as a dramatic actor than a comedic one, God help us if we get a Dumb and Dumber 3. Daniels was great as the tough but realistic NASA director, I thoroughly enjoyed watching him. Chastain and Ejiofor were strong as usual, but I was more intrigued by some of the smaller parts of the movie. Everyone loves Donald Glover in Community, but he shines in his limited but important role as an astrophysicist. Kristen Wiig was quite possibly the worst part of the movie, I just don’t buy her as a dramatic actress right now, and maybe she needs more time to polish her skills.
Ridley Scott pulled out all the stops to give us a beautiful, vibrant view of Mars. That’s tough to do with a planet that has no vegetation or life, at least that’s what we thought (see recent reports of water and Mars). In The Martian, Damon has a very dangerous enemy and that is the Martian environment, a barren wasteland. After his most recent flop Exodus: Gods and Kings, it was a good idea by Scott to use mostly practical effects for the movie.
You get the sense in The Martian that the entire world is pulling for Watney to survive, this is infectious. I was repeatedly rooting for Watney to make it because I saw people all over the world doing the same with open arms. That is what makes this film so good, the feeling of unity through one cause, bringing Mark Watney home. The movie is just a positive, hopeful look at one man’s will to survive. One other important note, when a particular aspect of the rescue mission goes wrong a certain international power comes to the assistance, I won’t tell you guys which one it is.
The weakest link of this film are Kristen Wiig, and the final act. Up until the last twenty minutes, there wasn’t any sizable flaw in the film. All was good until the climactic mission became a little too unrealistic and cartoonish for my taste. I won’t spoil but let’s just say it isn’t exactly realistic in any possible way. All minor problems aside, The Martian was a heavily enjoyable, uplifting, and funny film. I give The Martian a 3 out of 4.


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