Much to my dismay, whenever someone is bringing Nazis into the mix on the Blog Collab, it’s usually me. Though I have no desire to give neo-Nazis any time or attention whatsoever, I still find WWII and its prevalence in pop culture fascinating. No other event in modern history has shaped so many of our ideas about what evil looks like or shaken so thoroughly our belief in progress…or produced such bizarre and lasting conspiracy theories. If this film accomplishes one thing, it’s embracing every possible conspiracy theory it can in under 90 minutes. Let’s take the red pill then, shall we?
Iron Sky: The Coming Race
After a nuclear war between humanity and moon Nazis, the survivors have found temporary refuge on the dark side of the moon. To find a new home, a small group of humans must return to Earth to reclaim the Holy Grail from the Nazis/lizard people (I kid you not).
Following the events of Iron Sky (which I admittedly forget), the planet has been left a nuclear wasteland in the wake of war between Earth and moon Nazis. However, there is some hope for the lizard people/neo-Nazis who have brought about the end of humanity. Among these are Sarah Palin (president of the USA in this version of reality, and not too far off the mark), Margaret Thatcher, Christian and Muslim religious extremists, and their leader, Hitler (obviously). All of these horrible people have slithered to the center of the Earth, where their secret underground society thrives.
Any human survivors of the war have fled to the dark side of the moon, home to the former colony of moon Nazis. These include Obi, a tough but kind engineer, and her mother, effectively the leader of the struggling colony. Even after nuclear disaster, a hierarchy exists, and the members of a religious cult that worships Steve Jobs are the self-proclaimed righteous among the rest of humanity.
With dwindling supplies, crumbling infrastructure, and no way to leave the moon, it’s unclear how long the survivors of nuclear war can last. Hope comes in the unlikely form of a UFO piloted by Russians, including Sasha, who proves to be resourceful yet constantly worried about his fragile masculinity.
Because Obi’s mother is unwell, she is desperate for a cure. Desperate enough that, when she uncovers the secretly alive Moon Führer, Obi is willing to hear him out re: an evil plan he’s concocted. For reasons that are in no way sinister (eye roll), the Moon Führer, aka Hitler’s lizard man brother, seeks the Holy Grail. Coincidentally, its contents have the power to heal Obi’s mother. The only complication? The grail is located at the center of the secret civilization at the center of the Earth.
Along for the ride are Sasha, Obi’s unbelievably jacked bestie Malcolm, and a few members of the Steve Jobs cult, who believe their fearless leader is still miraculously alive on Earth. Things are off to a rocky start when the group crashes, encountering the dangerous world at the center of the planet, inhabited by lizard people and dinosaurs alike.
When most of the group is captured by Nazis, it’s up to Obi and Sasha to track down the grail. Meanwhile, the Steve Jobs cult discovers their leader is himself a lizard person in on the Nazis’ evil plan. Attempting to switch sides, the members of the cult get a firsthand reminder that you should never trust a promise from Hitler, whether he’s a lizard person or not.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, our heroes manage to escape with the grail, though not before a dramatic triceratops chariot chase. However, shortly after returning to the moon, Obi and the gang realize they have been followed…by none other than Hitler riding a T-Rex. In the showdown between lizard people, moon Nazis, and humanity, who will prevail?
2/5 Pink Panther Heads
Credit where credit’s due: this film is visually much more impressive than your average Nazi conspiracy theory action comedy. The lizard people look disgusting, honestly, and as realistic as it’s possible for them to look. Even though the plot doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, I do appreciate that the writers did at least try to weave conspiracy theories together into a somewhat coherent narrative. And my sci-fi loving heart can’t help but enjoy the commitment to telling a story about space travel.
However, like most B-movie sequels, all of the novelty and quirkiness of the first film is lost here. I did find some of the political humor rather gratifying, including when the Steve Jobs cult leader (played by Tom Green?!!!??!) mistakenly called Hitler by the name Donald Trump, as well as when he offered Hitler a quid pro quo. And there’s something quite satisfying about seeing Margaret Thatcher pushed from a triceratops chariot at high speed. But a lot of the political humor doesn’t feel especially clever, and where it was surprisingly apt in the first film, it feels tired here.
My other complaint with this film is the surprise “twist” at the end that reveals Malcolm to be gay. And, for the record, not because I oppose LGBTQ representation in film, but because I object to the use of a character’s sexuality as a joke or plot twist. I quite liked the character of Malcolm and the revelation that he had never been interested in Obi romantically (there’s a bit of an implied love triangle that gets so old so fast), but I felt this was played for laughs in a way I wouldn’t expect in a film from 2019. For fuck’s sake, do better.