On his past few movies, director Ridley Scott has come under heavy criticism. With his last movies being "Exodus: Gods and Kings" and "The Counselor", many people became increasingly worried. Ridley was written off by some critics, saying that he could not make a quality film again, but he proved everyone wrong with The Martian. I can't say I'm too surprised, though. With the pieces Scott had to work with, it would have been a crime if he didn't make something great. With a shockingly Interstellar-esque cast including Matt Damon and Jessica Chastain, to name a few, the movie has great performances throughout. This film was based off a book of a similar title, but manages to keep it's hilarious tone while still fitting the story into a normal feature film runtime. Matt Damon, playing Mark Watney, is stranded on the planet Mars and has to figure out a way to survive until NASA can get a team together to go and rescue him. The film naturally doesn't have a real antagonist, which is fairly uncommon. The entire planet of Mars fills the role of the antagonist, giving Watney significant trouble on his quest and struggle to stay alive.
Despite this, Ridley chose to portray Mars in a fairly positive way to the audience. "The film never depicts the planet or space in a poor light. Thanks to stunning cinematography of Mars’ desert landscapes and views of the cosmos, Earth and Mars feel worshipful and awe-inspiring, but never cold or cruel." I believe that Ridley chose to do this in order to showcase the beauty of the planet, all while trying to keep the tone as positive as possible, which was consistent with Watney's mindset.
In my opinion, the most successful thing in this film did not actually take place on Mars. It was on Earth, showing how much manpower and time it would take for NASA to be able to rescue one man on a planet well beyond their reach. It shows that humanity as a whole was rooting for Watney to come home safely, giving the audience a sense that Watney was really not alone. Hundreds of people were working countless hours just to be able to formulate ideas to get him back home safely, along with millions of others rooting and praying for his well being.
All in all, Ridley Scott did an amazing job with this film. Although many wrote him off, saying that he should retire and that he had "lost his touch", Ridley has silenced all those doubts. I cannot wait to see what project he takes on next.