My first thought was “oooh, a Greek mythology version of The Avengers,” and the comparison was more apropos than I realized. Both this film and The Avengers are based on comic books, but it can certainly be argued that Greek heroes like Hercules and Theseus were the world’s first superheroes. This is perhaps a more realistic portrait of Hercules, unlike the squeaky clean Disney version or the overtly cheesy heroics of the hunk with the heart of gold, as played by Kevin Sorbo. Not that this movie is entirely free of cheese, but like in Troy, the writers decided to leave the gods out of it and tell the story of what the truth behind the legend might have been. Dwayne Johnson is spot on as a gritty Hercules, a man not above building his own mythology or getting paid for his work. Of course it’s still a thrilling adventure filled with great battles, heroes and dastardly villains, who may not be quite what they seem.
There’s some beautifully pithy lines (“Do you mind? I was having a moment.”) and I particularly liked the heartbreaking portrayal of Tydeus, a man severely scarred by horrific events in his past and Norwegian actor Aksel Hennie lets you see the poor man’s nightmares reflected in his eyes. Ian McShane, the irreverent seer, and Rufus Sewell, the cynic, are perfection and Ingrid Bolsø Berdal‘s Atalanta’s skilled warrior thankfully goes nowhere near Xena territory. OK, so they might have recycled some armor and costumes from Troy and Gladiator, but they do rather brilliantly portray the military formation of the hoplite phalanx, something the Romans greatly admired and later adapted as their own. Not as dark as the previews made it look and surprisingly clean (only one f-bomb), this definitely gives the viewer what they want and if that means it’s gratuitous, I for one don’t mind a bit. – BETHANY
To find this particular film version of Hercules among the hundreds listed on IMDB, click this link which has done all the work for you: the Internet Movie Database
Hercules bids farewell to Megara (Irina Shayk) and his children.
Ian McShane as Amphiaraus the seer – the picture isn’t the best quality, but I love that dude’s expression on the left!
Rufus Sewell as Autolycus the rogue.
John Hurt as Cotys, King of Thrace
Rebeccah Ferguson as Ergenia
Barbara Palvin as Antimache.
Irina Shayk as Megara
Aksel Hennie as Tydeus. The poor boy!
Photos courtesy of Flynn Picture Company, Radical Studios, Paramount Pictures and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures