|"You guys, do I look ridiculous in this hat? No? Ok, just making sure."|
It's hard not to compare this to 300 and Clash of the Titans. Why should you see this one when you've already seen both of those? Well, it has Titans and they clash, so there's that. And there are no undertones of homosexuality or overtones of all women being whores, so there's that. But is this new stylized take fun or just another letdown?
King Hyperion (Mickey Rourke) is dead set on taking revenge on the gods by releasing the Titans, and an oracle named Phaedra knows that only Theseus (Henry Cavill) can stop him! Can Theseus stop him in time? Will the gods help?
If there's one thing you should know going into this movie it would be that it's crazy gory...EXTREMLY SUPER BRUTAL gory. The action is amazing but there are a handful of scenes that will make you cringe in pain. These guys are brutal, even more so than the Spartans. And it's all awesome. The action is highly stylized and a visual pleasure with bodies flying around in slow motion and limbs getting cut off hither and thither. There's just no way to do it justice in writing.
The rest of the movie is just as stylized and beautiful. It's a different take on the usual Greek movie. The gods, for instance, are all young and pretty with funny golden hats. And hey, why shouldn't they be gorgeous? If you were a nigh powerful, un-aging, shapeshifting super-being, why would you choose to look like an old guy with a white beard?
The visual aesthetic is beautiful and I love some of the scene transitions. Watching the movie, they look like they're on blue-screen stages. There's not even the illusion that this takes place on real land. And it doesn't matter one bit. It's one of the movie's main draws; there's always something pretty to look at even when there's nothing really happening. And they know how to use slow motion for a proper effect (LOOKIN' AT YOU SNYDER).
This is more an amalgamation of myths with many liberties being taken rather than a straight retelling of a classical story. It pays homage to certain myths, like "Theseus and the Minotaur", but don't expect them to make any kind of sense based on classical Greek mythology. This is The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Greek style. The gods are pretty, the Titans are only like twelve feet tall, and the Minotaur is a big guy in a razor wire bull helmet. This may be a shortcoming for some because it's hard to tell what some things are, especially when trying to pick out the gods. The only way I knew Poseidon was Poseidon is because he fought with a trident.
One aspect of the story I really like is that when the women suddenly become badass, there are no guys saying "Oh my gods! But you you have girly parts! How can this be?!!", and no girls saying, "Yes! I'm a woman! And a badass! FUCKING DEAL WITH IT!" Everyone just accepts the fact that they are badass and move on with the story. No backstory about how they were tomboys and always wanted to be warriors. No having to prove they're just as good as men. I really wish more movies did that. I doubt anyone even noticed it happened.
There are some slow parts in the pacing where I really just wanted to see someone get stabbed in the face, but it was never overly boring. All the actors, especially Rourke, were enjoyable enough in their roles to keep me interested. The dialogue didn't feel too expositiony. Everything seemed to come out when it needed to (Yes, that's what she said). The score was nice and epic as well.
I'm not really sure how I feel about the plot. When you get down to it, Theseus didn't do anything for the greater good. Looking at it as a whole, it's overarching theme seems to be one of "not even the gods can change their fate." One thing I did admire, however, was Zeus's stance on not helping the humans directly. He wanted them to do things for themselves. "If they are to have faith in us, we must have faith in them." I like that.
Also, I saw this in 3D and can safely tell you it is not worth it. There is exactly one scene at the very end that uses the 3D properly and that is all. They might as well have just had the movie in 2D, then put up a big honking sign at the end that said, "PUT ON YOUR 3D GLASSES NOW". So don't waste the money.
THE GOOD: Very awesome gory action, highly stylized, a lot of fun.
THE BAD: Might be too gory for some, does not treat Greek myths in the traditional way at all.
OVERALL: I'd recommend seeing it if you like shirtless men fighting brutally and stylishly (who doesn't?) and don't take too much care with your Greek myths. And don't bother with the 3D.
ONE SCENE METAPHOR: Aries comes down to help Theseus, even though Zeus explicitly forbade the gods to intervene. Aries takes out a handful of enemies in a super fast way, but then Zeus comes down to whoop his ass for disobeying him. It's a stylized and awesome scene, but I would have had no idea that it was Aries if hadn't looked it up on IMDB. He was never named, he didn't have any defining characteristics, and while watching the movie, I was certain he was Apollo for some reason.