Jupiter Ascending is a space opera movie about the genetic reincarnation of the galactic Empress-CEO and all the trouble that this causes, both for the titular Jupiter and for her previous incarnation’s children.
1—A Damsel with Agency
Jupiter presents an interesting dichotomy in that she manages to both get damseled a lot and still maintain agency. Jupiter’s decisions and actions have impact on the story, they matter—she’s not just a plot device being tossed from one situation to the next. She also spends a good portion of the movie falling to her death and needing rescue. Not Jupiter’s fault—no one expects space aliens to start fighting over them and kidnap them. And in the last fall, Jup catches herself.
And I suppose that’s why Jupiter doesn’t bug me. Though she’s in situations where there’s not much she can do, she always does as much as she can—like when she’s in prison and can’t escape, she studies up on the new galactic empire she finds herself in, studying which pays off several times. She never just helplessly sits there unless that really is all she can do—sitting in a falling spaceship she can’t pilot and that’s broken anyway.
Not every heroine needs to be a badass—strong doesn’t just mean physically. Jupiter is a strong character, she makes the hard decisions. She doesn’t believe it when she’s told she has no choice—she does and she makes that choice, no matter how painful. That’s her strength.
I only had the one point to make about the movie. Jupiter Ascending is fluffy and fun, and there’s nothing wrong with that. It has an interesting world only lightly touched on, interesting secondary and side characters whose depths are only hinted at, and great special effects and action sequences.
I feel like the movie is an iceberg, only a bit showing. I’d love to see the world-bible on this movie.
That’s really all I have to say on the movie. It was fun but I feel like they could’ve done more with it if they’d had more time—it is a movie, after all. It doesn’t look like there’s a novelization or supplementary, like an “art of” book, to go with, so I’ll just have to fill in the spaces myself. Jupiter is a cool character but the movie just needed a little more. I wish they’d written that novel.