Review: ‘Moonshot’ is a twist on earthbound rom-coms


“Moonshot” takes a new, scientific take on the classic rom-com genre. Actors spoke with college journalists in a roundtable to discuss the themes of the film. Photo credit Clara McCourt.

Clara McCourt, managing editor

Warner Bros.’ newest film, “Moonshot,” takes the romantic comedy genre into orbit.

“Moonshot” takes place twenty years in the future, where a newly terraformed Mars is a beacon of hope for those left on a polluted Earth. Walt (Cole Sprouse), an adventure-seeking barista, sneaks onto a Mars-bound rocket with the help of intelligent college student Sophie (Lana Condor) in search of their significant others. As Walt and Sophie venture further from their home planet, they realize what they really want may not be what they left Earth for. 

Walt and Sophie fall into typical character tropes found in romantic comedies as their seemingly opposite personalities clash and mesh as they go from enemies to friends to lovers. Condor is no stranger to romantic comedies, fresh off the success of her Netflix trilogy “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before.” 

“How many sci-fi rom coms are really out there? I don’t think there’s many. I look at different projects through the lens of how is it going to make the audience feel, how are they going to feel once they leave the film? I really enjoy doing films that are uplifting and are joyous,” Condor said in a March 24 virtual roundtable with college publications.

Sprouse, a former Disney twin currently best known for playing Jughead Jones on a certain infamous CW series, said that he wanted Walt to feel like a change from his sullen “Riverdale” character. 

“I wanted Walt to feel super approachable. I’ve been so ‘My Chemical Romance’ with my emo dark hair on ‘Riverdale’ for the last 16 years, so I went blonde,” Sprouse said. “I’d say ‘The Suite Life [of Zack and Cody]’ probably did more heavy lifting for me as a child for this role than anything else.” 

The film’s primary focus is on Walt, while Sophie’s character arc feels more like a subplot at times. This choice echoes a social media movement of last year, as Condor’s fans questioned why she wasn’t getting the high-profile roles of her white male co-star, Noah Centineo, following the success of the “To All the Boys” films. Regardless, Condor spoke to her excitement about taking a science fiction role.

“I really wanted to put myself in that position where I can learn how to act in that space, and then have that as a part of my toolbox for hopefully the rest of my career,” Condor said. “Trying something new and learning something new was really attractive to me.” 

The film takes a more serious turn as it shows Walt and Sophie juggling their futures and finding where they belong. While Walt and Sophie’s futuristic struggles to find their place in the solar system may not be relatable to a 2022 earthbound audience, the general themes of independence and separation are bound to resonate with teenagers on any planet. 

“I think a lot of this movie deals with control, or lack thereof … I think we are delivering a lot of these messages with a spoonful of sugar, which is kind of how this genre works. But the movie really deals with a question that I think is going to be the biggest question of our generation which is ‘What should our focus really be upon? Why should it be upon the future and prepping for the future?’” Sprouse said.

“Moonshot” will be released March 31 on HBO Max.