The Martian is not a difficult film. It’s a crowd pleaser, full of popular comedic actors; upbeat disco hits; patriotic-but-not-jingoistic optimism; and peans to the popular religion of people who consider themselves too smart for religion: science.
It comes by its snappy sensibilities honestly, with a script by Buffy The Vampire Slayer alum (and, therefore, witty repartee specialist) Drew Goddard and direction by Ridley Scott, who has already proven many times over that he can direct the hell out of a sci-fi adventure. Scott’s finesse with the genre is most evident in the action scenes, where humor momentarily gives way to edge-of-your-seat tension in the endless blackness of space. It’s not quite a comedy—no matter what the Golden Globes say—but it is the funniest movie about facing certain death alone on an alien planet you’ll see this year.