Ad Astra is out of this world in terms of plot, effects and the overall acting that happens in it.
It really is one of the best movies of the year and throughout this video I’m going to be going over everything you need to know about the film and it’s ending.
There will be heavy spoilers here so if you haven’t had a chance to see Ad Astra yet and don’t want to know what happens then I highly suggest that you turn off now.
With that out the way I just wanna give a huge thank you for clicking this video, now let’s get into our Ad Astra Ending Explained Breakdown!
Ad Astra Plot Recap
Ad Astra follows Roy McBride, played by Brad Pitt, an astronaut that spends his life preoccupied with his work, valuing the mission above all else including his wife and life on Earth.
Roy is the son of Earth’s most decorated astronaut, a man named Clifford McBride, played by Tommy Lee Jones who was part of a mission known as Project Lima which was created in order to try and find intelligent life in the universe. Clifford and the rest of his team arrived at Neptune and began carrying out recon and then mysteriously disappeared without a trace for several years.
This has shaped Roy completely who has tried to live up to his father’s image and the movie is very much about him becoming his own man after going on a vast and distant journey throughout the far reaches of space.
After vast electrical surges desimate Earth, leading to deaths in the tens of thousands, the cause of this is traced back to Project Lima and Roy is called to participate in a mission that will see him travel to Mars in order to send a mission to his father to try and get him to stop whatever he is doing.
The film is beautifully paced and not only does it expertly show what we as a race have been but it also demonstrates where we are currently and where we are going. Seeing Roy arrive on the Moon to witness it almost kitted out like a commercial airport completely grounded this film and added a lot of weight to why Clifford had chosen to distance himself so much.
Ad Astra is a truly solitary movie and you get the feeling throughout that this chosen life of isolation and rediscovering value in things that we have previously cast aside is the driving piece of the narrative. Throughout Roy barely thinks of his wife as there’s always the mindset that the mission is more important, that discovering extraterrestrial life within the galaxy is paramount and we see this reflected in Clifford who throughout seems to be hellbent on carrying out the discoveries into the universe no matter what.
Ad Astra Explained
The meaning behind Ad Astra itself comes from the latin phrase “per aspera ad astra” which in itself means ‘Through Hardships To The Stars’ and throughout the film Roy runs into test after test, dealing with Pirates on the Moon who murder for resources and wild animals trapped on far distant stations.
It really is breathtaking and at the heart of the entire piece is the mystery of ‘are we alone in the Galaxy?’
After sending a message on Mars, Roy is seemingly ousted from the rest of the mission and we discover that his highly decorated father may not be the hero that he is on Earth. We learn that Clifford murdered the rest of his crew when they tried to return to Earth and this drives Roy to sneak aboard the craft that is being sent to terminate him and travel to Neptune himself.
There’s a real sense of rage to the film and you get the feeling that Roy is embittered by his father’s actions and this slowly changes his mindset to the thinking that he must differ from him in order to live a happy life. This plays massively into the end when Roy arrives at the station to destroy it and finds his father.
Ad Astra Ending Explained
His father admits that he killed the crew because they didn’t find anything in their expeditions and after giving up decided to go home. This angered Clifford who saw them as trying to escape from a task that requires deeper sacrifice, a selfless mindset that is more inclined for the good of mankind rather than one’s self. Clifford says he was never interested in life on Earth and left Roy and his ailing mother because he had a destiny and a purpose which was to answer the bigger questions. We learn that the surges were caused by complications that arose when his crew was trying to escape and that though he has been trying to stop them, he hasn’t had much luck.
Roy mines Cliffords data on planets and whilst he discovers that there are countless, beautiful planets out there that the was no life. Clifford sees this as a waste, it’s not the answer that he’s looking for and he refuses to give up whereas Roy states that this is an answer and it actually lets us know that we are all that we have and much cherish it.
It’s a turn I wasn’t expecting and throughout the finale I kept thinking that any minute now Aliens would show up and that Clifford’s life hadn’t been a waste…but they never did. Clifford had cast aside everything in his life because he wanted more, his ambition drove him to forget the things that really mattered and in the end, unable to face this he commits suicide and drifts off into space whilst Roy is trying to take him back to his craft so they can return to Earth.
The True Meaning Of Ad Astra
Whilst most would feel bitter about the entire experience, Roy uses it as inspiration to confirm that he isn’t his father and rather than be pessimistic he has realised that everything that he needs and has ever needed is right back home. The human race can be a beautiful thing and rather than casting it aside we should learn to appreciate what we have as it’s all that really matters.
Roy has to travel as far away as possible to learn what he really needed was right back home and thus he returns to Earth, reunites with his wife and focuses on the essentials in life rather than the mission.
It’s a truly spellbinding ending that really makes you think about what you have rather than what you don’t. Clifford’s biggest problem is that he was always looking for impossible, intangable things to fill the emptiness in his life whereas Roy realised that he had those things and he just needs to view them for what they are rather than what they’re not.
Ad Astra Review
It’s a strong message and the movie is constantly changing the dynamics of the piece to keep it engaging throughout in a way that is truly captivating. I’ve never seen a film before like Ad Astra that feels so close to our reality that you could almost touch it but so distant that it’s intergalactic.
Similar to Interstellar, though the location, setting and characters are all based in Science Fiction, the true heart of the piece is it’s study of humanity and Ad Astra beautifully lets us know what it means to be human and how we must place value in the things that matter in our lives.
I meant what I said at the start and I think that Ad Astra is one of the best films of the year. It’s outstanding from start to finish and that’s why it gets a…
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