Jupiter (Kunis), a janitor, hates her dreary daily existence. She scrubs toilets for a living and dreams about a better, more purposeful existence. However, her destiny transcends washrooms, aliens and even planets. After a part-human hunter named Caine (Tatum) rescues her, she finds out, to her disbelief, that she actually 'owns' the Earth.
Jupiter Ascending can be distilled down to a cosmic family tale involving planetary inheritances, sibling scheming, inadequately-explained references to genetic theory and plenty of action in between. In theory, this may sound like an imaginative mix, but what we get is an essentially simple story told in an overly (and perhaps needlessly) convoluted manner.
Jupiter, of the aforesaid existential existence, is at the focal point of this story. After Caine, the cyberpunk super-soldier who speeds around in jet-boots, rescues her from a bunch of aliens (a role he will reprise throughout the film), they head to a safe house owned by his old comrade Stinger (Bean) where he breaks the news to her that she is, among other things, royalty.
Jupiter is then kidnapped and taken to Kalique Abrasax (Middleton) in space, who further explains that Jupiter is a perfect genetic 'recurrence' of her deceased mother Seraphi, matriarch of an intergalactic royal family who owned planets and harvested its people for their genetic essence - the coveted fountain of youth.
As Jupiter now owns the Earth (thanks to her genetic makeup), Kalique needs her as part of the plan to harvest Earth. Her brothers, the suave Titus (Booth) and uber-villainous Balem (Redmayne) also need Jupiter to sign away her ownership of Earth.
Despite the dazzling effects and stellar art direction (also, more hairstyle variations than actual characters), Jupiter Ascending skimps on fleshed-out performances and offers little substance to chew on, compared to say, 1999's Matrix by the Wachowskis and easily their best in terms of scale-meets-mythology. The Jupiter-Caine love story angle falls flat but it is Redmayne's deliciously evil, ruthless Balem who you actually want to see more of. Thankfully though, there is enough originality in here to please hardcore sci-fi fans.