Title Card - Moonshot (2022)

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Moonshot is your run-of-the-mill, improbable romance that is fun to watch and easy to forget.

Director(s) Christopher Winterbauer
Screenplay By Max Taxe
Date Released 3/31/2022
Where To Watch HBO Max
Genre(s) Adventure, Comedy, Romance, Sci-Fi, Young Adult
Duration 1 Hour and 44 Minutes
Content Rating PG-13
Noted Cast
Walt                Cole Sprouse
Ginny Emily Rudd
Sophie Lana Condor
Gary Peter Woodward
Jan Christine Adams
Calvin Mason Gooding
Captain Tarter Michelle Buteau
Leon Kovi                Zach Braff

Film Summary

In the year 2049, all Walt dreams about is going to Mars, and over 36 times, he has applied to make the journey. However, with Mars currently, only for those who can afford the $937,000 ticket or who are some of the smartest people on Earth, the utterly average Walt has been denied over and over.

But, after falling for a girl named Ginny, who has just made the decision to head to Mars, Walt is willing to do anything to get up there. That includes coercing another girl he just met, Sophie, to allow him to masquerade as the boyfriend she is heading to Mars to so that he can reunite with the alleged girl of his dreams and realize the longest dream he has had and make it into reality.

Things To Note

  • Reason(s) for Film Rating: Cursing (Throughout, but nothing too vulgar), Sexual Content (Light and rare innuendo), Miscellaneous (Drinking on occasion)
  • If you’re watching for Zach Braff, he isn’t really in the film till the end, and Michelle Buteau fans, you get her mostly towards the middle and a little bit in the end. With Buteau pretty much playing the same character she usually plays when she isn’t the star.

Question(s) Left Unanswered

  1. So, did the film just skip what happened to Walt’s mom or was it just a tidbit they dropped and quickly moved on from?
  2. How were Walt’s grades in school?
  3. Considering Walt is able to seemingly hack the computer on a $4 billion space station, to be like Gary, is he really as dumb as everyone paints him as?
  4. Where did Sophie get the money to get to Mars from? Was it from how her parents died, Jan, or did she sell something that made her a lot of money?
  5. So around the time Sophie met Calvin in 9th grade, her parents died? How did she have the mental and emotional capacity to date when she lost both parents, seemingly at one time, and had to move in with a guy she knew less than a year? With the alternative being, who knows what in the year 2049?

Character Descriptions

Please Note: This character guide is not an exhaustive list of every cast member, and character descriptions may contain what can be considered spoilers.


Walt (Cole Sprouse) looking confused
Walt (Cole Sprouse)

Raised by a single mom, Walt has dreamed of going to Mars his whole life and is so desperate to get there that he planned his life around it. But, despite going to the perfect school, dabbling in 16 different majors, and applying for the Kovi Industries Students Mars program 36 times, he has been rejected. Thus, he won’t be able to get to Mars the legitimate way.


When Walt met Ginny, she wasn’t sure about going to Mars. However, in one of his famous pep talks, Walt inspires her to go, and for at least a month, the two talk constantly until she goes radio silent – seemingly ghosting him, but Walt hopes that isn’t the case.


Sophie (Lana Condor) smiling
Sophie (Lana Condor)

As a child, Sophie saw how ravaged by trash the Earth was, and that inspired her to do something about it. Specifically, she wanted to make plants that consumed trash, and with Calvin learning about terraforming, she hoped that would save the Earth. However, Sophie lost herself a bit between becoming an orphan at 14 and focusing more on Calvin’s dreams than her own.


Gary is the barista robot at a local university café that Walt works at, and while a sarcastic robot, he is also the closest thing to a friend Walt has in this world.


Jan (Christine Adams) in conversation
Jan (Christine Adams)

Jan is Calvin’s mom and Sophie’s guardian, who loves them both dearly and encourages Sophie to pursue her individual dreams.


With a focus on terraforming, it isn’t just nepotism that gets Calvin to Mars. It’s his intelligence, and honestly, also, Sophie helping him with his video essay.

Captain Tarter

Captain Tarter (Michelle Buteau) talking to Walt and Sophie
Captain Tarter (Michelle Buteau)

With a high IQ, and the ability to fly a $4 billion spaceship, Captain Tarter is one of the smartest people in any room she enters. But, one problem she always has is that she is also the only fun person around, stuck with geniuses who don’t know how to party.

Leon Kovi

Leon Kovi (Zach Braff) talking to Walt
Leon Kovi (Zach Braff)

The owner and CEO of Kovi Industries, Kovi’s claim to fame is going to Mars when he was 25 and being an often noted billionaire. But, alongside being wealthy, he is also a bit of a bastard for reasons gone into during Moonshot.




Gary (Peter Woodward) talking to Walt and Sophie
Gary (Peter Woodward)

Sadly, Gary is only really at the beginning of the film, but his sarcasm is the best part of the film. For if it isn’t throwing jabs at Walt and making it clear Walt isn’t good at his job and not as desirable as he thinks he is, Gary goes toe to toe with Sophie. You have hope for the film in those moments, and I’d dare say you may wish all AI was programmed to act like Gary.

But alas, Gary is one of a kind, and despite Walt trying to duplicate that persona whenever he can, none of them compare to the original.

On The Fence

It’s An Okay Romance Movie, With A Decent Message

Romantic chemistry is not really something you see in any of the proposed couples. You don’t necessarily get a Five Feet Apart vibe for Cole Sprouse when he interacts with either Lana Condor or Emily Rudd. He comes off as generic, likable, but not exciting. Even in terms of charm, it feels as packaged and standard as the contents of your favorite soft drink.

Ginny (Emily Rudd) talking to Walt before she goes to Mars
Ginny (Emily Rudd)

But it isn’t just him. From what little we see of Ginny and Walt interact, it’s cute for a moment, but then Walt decides he will use liking her to jumpstart his ambitions to go to Mars? A month-long trip where he could die or get arrested while trying to hide away on the various shuttles to get there? It doesn’t come off romantic since they just met, and the night they spent together doesn’t make you swoon.

Then with Sophie, there is something about how Candor plays her and how Taxe wrote her that makes the character feel untapped. You hear so much about her and Calvin studying ways to save the planet, yet the passion about such isn’t in the performance, and I wouldn’t say she is believable.

However, one could submit that she isn’t easily believed because she is more invested in her relationship with Calvin than saving the planet. Sophie, who is doing the work she seemingly once planned to do with her father, would rather revolve around Calvin than focus on a life-saving plant species that can eat the trash which plagues the Earth.

Calvin (Mason Gooding) facetiming Sophie
Calvin (Mason Gooding)

Add in, like Walt, getting yet another generic character, the geeky girl who doesn’t have the best social skills, is painfully awkward for comedic effect, and that wears down the film too. Even if you are pushed to understand her willingness to sacrifice her own dreams and aspirations to remain a part of Calvin’s life since she has no one else but his family.


Our Rating: Mixed (Divisive)

Moonshot, at best, will give you what you need as you await a truly good young adult romance. For whether it is the comical stylings of Gary, the usual shtick of Michelle Buteau, or the decent message of not forgetting yourself in a relationship, as Jan pushes, Moonshot isn’t horrible, but it is certainly forgettable. If anything, Moonshot is the kind of film released because a streaming platform needs content.

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Title Card - Moonshot (2022)
Moonshot (2022) – Review/ Summary (with Spoilers)
Who Is This For?
Those who love simple romances with a bit of sci-fi appeal and can easily get past an overzealous male lead who is willing to endanger himself for love, without being asked.
It's An Okay Romance Movie, With A Decent Message

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