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Three stars

Immortals. Henry Cavill, Mikey Rourke, John Hurt, Stephen Dorff, Luke Evans, Isabel Lucas, Kellan Lutz, Freida Pinto. Relativity Media, 110 mins. Rated 18A.

Watching Immortals is equivalent to visiting an ultra-violent art museum where graphic and gory images are presented as art. The film’s orgy of carnage and mayhem, drenched in digital bloodshed, is visually mesmerizing, yet it feels cold and distant, like a visit to a museum. The whole movie feels that way as well, making one feel like a dispassionate observer rather than an active participant in the action.

The film’s focused on Theseus (Henry Cavil) and his quest to avenge his mother’s death and to save the world from tyranny. You may remember Theseus as the guy who kills the Minotaur in the big maze, ending the practice of human sacrifice to the beast. There’s no such Minotaur here, but there’s a big guy wearing a bull-shaped mask made of barbed wire. You can figure out what happens to this guy’s head.

In this version of the story, Theseus, the bastard son of a woman ostracized by her community, is trained in combat by Zeus, who is disguised as an old man (John Hurt) for reasons not made clear. Zeus (Luke Evans) is presented as a benevolent figure who forbids other gods, looking like models from Abercrombie catalogue, from intervening in human affairs in order to preserve humanity’s free will.

It turns out to be a pretty stupid decree, endangering the gods’ existence for no good reason, but, if the order does not stand, then the movie will end a lot sooner.

This Zeus is not the horny old guy with a beard who is interested in impregnating fertile female mortals with his divine seed. No, that will be King Hyperion (Mickey Rourke), the ruthless and sadistic ruler of Crete, dreaming of establishing dominion on earth and making the world in his image, one Greek woman at a time. Apparently, the likelihood of incest for his offspring does not occur to him.

He is very fond of subjecting prisoners to horrific tortures, such as slowly roasting victims to death inside a big bronze bull, and allowing an unfortunate guy to get castrated with a big hammer. He is also not shy about killing one of his own by gorging a henchman’s eyes out. He is definitely the most evil villain I have seen in a long time. His evilness is mildly offset by the stupid masks he wears.

His army, consisting of disfigured soldiers wearing creepy masks, is ravishing Greece and searching for the long lost Epirus Bow—a legendary god-made weapon capable of freeing the Titans imprisoned deep within Mount Tartarus and ending the reign of the gods. Hyperion wants the gods to die as punishment for not saving his sickened family from death. But he messes with the wrong guy when he slits a mom’s throat in front of her son, Theseus, who embarks on a journey to recover the lost weapon with the photogenic oracle, Priestess Phaedra (Freida Pinto) and a bunch of expendable characters destined to die before the film’s over.

The storyline is not very compelling, populated with numerous plot holes and slow pacing. But the captivating visuals and the hyper-stylized fight scenes with overabundant body counts compensates for all of its inadequacies.

All the scenes, especially the ones from battle sequences, strongly resemble paintings from the Renaissance. The excellent production design almost distracts me from the unexciting plot. Once the gods enter the conflict to battle the Titans in the finale, Immortals enters a higher plane of pure awesomeness, providing the audience with the clash that the misleadingly titled Clash of the Titans does not. That is a good enough reason for this movie to be watched.

Source The Muse