ShortList is supported by you, our amazing readers. When you click through the links on our site and make a purchase we may earn a commission. Learn more

Netflix's most-watched film has divided fans and critics - but everyone's asking the same question

It may be a hit among fans but everyone seems to be asking the same question

Netflix's most-watched film has divided fans and critics - but everyone's asking the same question
Danielle de Wolfe
27 December 2023

Netflix subscribers all appear to be flagging the same issue where the streaming platform's latest most-viewed film is concerned.

The first half of Zack Snyder's highly-anticipated two-parter, Rebel Moon, dropped onto the streaming service on December 21 - and it instantly shot to the top of the charts.

Becoming the platform's most-watched title over the Christmas period, the sci-fi film has amassed 23.9 million streams since launch.

Winning the Boxing Day streaming wars, it's already left animation studio Aardman's sequel to the impeccable stop-motion classic Chicken Run in its wake.

Starring Julia Roberts and Ethan Hawke, Leave the Wold Behind came in second, clocking 19.7 million views, while the chicken-based animated film - which took six years to shoot - can currently be found sitting third in Netflix's Global Top 10 with 14.9 million views.

And yet, despite flying high at the top of Netflix's Top 10 list, the figures on film ranking site Rotten Tomatoes currently gives the release a mere 26% approval rating where critics are concerned.

The New York Post's Johnny Oleksinski wrote: "Like the Death Star obliterating planets, Zack Snyder is out to topple countless innocent genres."

While The Observer's Wendy Ide said of the film: "The story is a derivative mess that feels as though it was assembled from bits of plot picked off the carcasses of other, better films, and glued together with brain-numbing, pace-killing chunks of exposition."

Proving slightly more popular among viewers, the first half of Snyder's two-parter, 'A Child of Fire', currently has an audience score of 69%.

Netflix most-watched film has viewers making the same complaint

Their one complaint? Major pacing issues.

The first instalment of the two-part franchise has already been labelled “a borderline incoherent shambles” in one particular one-star review.

While another viewer highlighted the lack of a director's cut as a major let down - something many say could have averted such confusion where the story arc and timelines are concerned.
“I think Netflix holding back a longer — and from what I hear, better — edit really backfired,” one viewer wrote.
A second went on to flag that: “For me there were some slight pacing issues but I imagine those will be more or less fixed in the longer cut.”

Calls for a director's cut echoed across the internet, backed up by countless Twitter/X users who all appear to be flagging the same problem.

“So when is the extended version of Rebel Moon coming out? I still have 30 minutes left but I already want a longer version,” said one.

Another disgruntled viewer added: "Not releasing the full “director’s cut” to begin with on Netflix is just gross and greedy.”

Only time will tell whether the director's cut of this two-parter will redeem itself where viewers are concerned.

And with the second instalment of this two-parter set to hit the streaming service in 2024, viewers will have to wait to see whether their pacing calls are addressed.