Jupiter Ascending is, unfortunately, neither exceedingly good nor excessively bad. Pre-release hype pinned it down as one or the other—either a return to form by the Wachowskis (of Matrix fame) or another conceptually-vacant eyesore. But it’s actually an overstuffed response to the more fantastical instances of the Marvel movie franchise.
It's as if the Wachowskis saw what Thor got away with (silly aliens, dynastic rivalries, re-writing the history of earth, elaborate mythologies, and enough Freud to confuse you for a lifetime) and said, "Hey, we want to do that."
The plot concerns the semi-orphaned Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis, whose character's name is just one of the many comic book-alike elements to the movie), an illegal immigrant to the U.S. from Russia following the murder of her father. He was obsessed with astronomy, and Jupiter follows in his footsteps.
What a coincidence, then, that the stars come down to her, in the form of Channing Tatum's Caine, a human-wolf hybrid bounty hunter. (Note that "human-wolf hybrid bounty hunter" is going to be one of the less-silly sentences in this review.) Some of the most powerful entities in the galaxy want Jupiter for some unspecified reason, and it's up to Caine to keep her safe.
Jupiter Ascending never really manages to reconcile its tonal dissonance, which it clearly tore from the playbook of movies like Thor. On the one hand, the movie is a grand space opera, with orange-lit vistas of spaceships emerging from Saturn-like rings. And on the other hand, it is, for its first 45 minutes or so, an earth-bound character-focused comedy. Mila Kunis plays her Jupiter as a real-seeming person, but not as an especially deep or multifaceted ...1
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