Iron Sky: The Coming Race is the long-awaited follow-up to the 2012 B-movie cult classic Iron Sky about a fantasy world in which the Nazis didn’t actually disband after WWII but retreated to the moon to plot their return. This sequel doubles down on that absurdity, adding an ancient race of shapeshifting reptilian aliens to the mix.
At the core of this film is a relatively predictable and generic quest storyline about the hero trying to acquire a talisman that has the power to rescue her people. Yet despite relative predictability, the movie manages to be mostly enjoyable because it is so out there, you can’t help but sit pack and revel in the goofiness. After all, you don’t watch a movie about space Nazis fighting alien reptiles expecting it to be Oscar-worthy stuff.
However, the film never quite matches up to the simple charm of the original, perhaps because it attempts to go too big. You know that the movie is going to be quite silly, but unlike its predecessor, which used its ridiculousness for satirical purposes, Iron Sky: The Coming Race simply goes all-in on the campiness. Although still fun, this isn’t as surprisingly fun as the original.
That said, the film does do some interesting things with the mythology of the movie’s universe in a way that opens the door for even better follow-ups in the future. Because of the introduction of this reptilian race of shapeshifters, this film allows the opportunity for future entries to explore even wackier worlds in outer space. Hopefully the series won’t lose touch of its roots in fighting space Nazis, but even so, the series still seems to have more absurdist fun up its sleeve.
In an interesting move, this movie takes a significant time-jump forward and focuses on the daughter of the first film’s protagonist. Though the movie would have benefitted from Christopher Kirby’s non-stop wisecracks, the new hero, portrayed by Lara Rossi, is a compelling character nonetheless. Although the role doesn’t require particularly much range, Rossi’s performance is solid, showing her potential to be a great leading lady in other films.
The real stand-out in the cast, though, is Canadian comedian Tom Green, who plays the leader of a cult that worships the late Apple creator Steve Jobs. Green’s performance is admirably and fittingly over-the-top, and he gets the most laughs out of anyone in the cast. It’s a shame that this storyline served as little more than an amusing sidebar, as it is far more interesting than the main quest and has much more to say.
The production values of this movie obviously aren’t particularly high given its low-budget B-movie nature, but they work given the fact that you aren’t meant to take this film seriously. Director Timo Vuorensola should be praised for his ambition and for trying to make a movie so dependent on CGI on a modest budget. Although he wasn’t always completely successful, the world he builds is at least admirably done.
Iron Sky: The Coming Race is an inferior sequel to a modern cult classic. There is still fun to be had in this wacky follow-up, just not nearly as much as there was in the original. Perhaps if the filmmakers had stuck to the series’ roots instead of trying to one-up it, the sequel would have been more satisfying.
Iron Sky: The Coming Race hits theaters and VOD on July 19.