The Martian is an exceptionally good movie.
The story by Andy Weir and the adaptation by Drew Goddard has the right amount of action, humour, suspense and emotion to draw you in from the very first minute and not let you go until the end credits roll.
And Matt Damon is absolutely perfect as the astronaut assumed dead and left behind on Mars. There's just something about him that is both charismatic but also vulnerable, and you completely buy him as the character. You root for him through the entire movie, feel his successes and losses and just want everything to work out for him.
But there isn't a single bad performance in the entire movie... everybody brought their A game, from Jessica Chastain as the mission commander to Jeff Daniels as the head of NASA and everybody in between. Even the very small roles, Donald Glover as an astrodynamicist to Mackenzie Davis as a NASA engineer feel like real characters.
Visually the movie is gorgeous... everything from the landscape shots of Mars to the essentially seamless visual effects (as in I have no idea what was and wasn't an effects shot, beyond knowing what probably must have been mostly effects), not to mention the amazing production design and costumes. The Mars space suits are just beautiful.
There's also a great use of music... in this case, predominantly disco, which is used fairly sparingly but also really, really effectively. And bonus points for the song choice used during the credits.
If there were any quibbles at all they would be two tiny shots using a body double to show how malnourished Damon's character had become... I get why they're there, I get why they used a double, but it just looks weird and definitely threw me out of the movie for a moment both times. But given their collective run time it's a very, very, very small nitpick in an otherwise exceptional movie.
yani's rating: 5 Martian potatoes out of 5