Despite the film carrying a B-movieish, almost Grindhouse appeal, the visuals really are great.
Since 1945, a group of Nazis have been hiding on the dark side of the moon. Now in 2018, they plot an invasion of Earth. That's the bonkers plot of Iron Sky, and it sets a tone that the cast get fully behind, playing a fun script with glee. There's more than a touch of cult appeal to this one, and as a Friday night six-pack movie, it's hard not to enjoy.
To the films credit, it doesn’t use Nazism as a running joke, but more of a jumping off point for some bizarre, offbeat humour. The moon Nazis are shown to be extremely out of touch with their political history, with teacher Renate (Julia Dietze) convinced that the party stands for peace, love and equality. Unbalanced wannabe fuhrer Klaus Adler (Gotz Otto) embodies a more traditional view of Nazi Germany, seeking only to conquer the planet and install himself as leader. Into the middle of all this comes American astronaut James Washington (Christopher Kirby), a black man sent to the moon by a Palin-alike US President (Stephanie Paul) as a PR exercise at the suggestion of her scheming campaign manager (Peta Sergeant).
There are a number of laugh-out-loud moments here, notably riffing on other Nazi-themed films with shot-for shot parodies, but whether or not this will appeal all hinges on its rather one-note sense of humour, as it turns its satirical sights onto contemporary world politics. Some of this satire is a little blunt, but slick visuals and a knowing sense of humour which does score some belly laughs mean there is plenty to enjoy about Iron Sky. The final scene may be a little obvious and not particularly funny, but the hits generally outweigh the misses here.
The cast is packed with well-pitched comic performances, played just straight enough to keep the plot trundling along, and it’s difficult to fault any member of the cast here. Particular plaudits should go to Dietze and Kirby, but it will likely be Sergeant who comes out of this with the most praise – a genuinely funny turn, albeit in a well-written role, is central to both the satire and the farce which gives Iron Sky its appeal. She enjoys many of the films best-written comic beats, and handles a gloriously OTT character with aplomb.
Despite the film carrying a B-movieish, almost Grindhouse appeal, the visuals really are great, with a washed out, steampunkish vibe which provides a memorable moon setting as well as showing off some surprisingly accomplished effects work in the space scenes.
A slightly bum ending does harm things slightly, as a surprisingly dull space battle comes out of nowhere to do little more than hurry the story along, but despite having a very specific appeal, Iron Sky seems destined for a healthy cult following. Armed with a central concept which is ridiculous but not overplayed, the stage is set for some good quality, if a little self-conscious, B-movie fun.