When the trailer first landed over ten months ago now, the initial response was that Immortals would hopefully be a cooler version of the recently released, much hyped and disappointing Clash of the Titans, not just Clash mixed with a 300 redub. Sadly it turned out to the be the latter. The plot is based in the same mythical world as Clash, with humans and immortals seemingly always looking for a fight, and follows the increasingly standard formula of: meet a mortal man, follow the mortal man, see mortal man being chosen by the gods and then take on another evil, probably mortal, man. Our hero this time around is Theseus (Superman to be - Henry Cavill) who is chosen by the god Zeus (Luke Evans) to lead the fight against the ruthless King Hyperion (Mickey Rourke), who is on a rampage across Greece to obtain a weapon that can destroy humanity. As you do. Top of his tick list is freeing the Titans, who are rather annoyed by being imprisoned for all eternity by the Mount Olympus dwelling Zeus and co. So for a Greek Mythology story, just another day at the agora. While it sounds good on paper and the trailer is hardly subtle in its selling points (Superman! Rourke! EPIC 300 style slow mo!), the film plot is weak and emotionally flat. From start to finish character roles are set and stuck to, Henry Cavill is the admirable hero, Mickey Rourke is the calculating big bad and Freida Pinto (Slum Millionaires girlfriend to most viewers) is the love interest, and thats it for any character development. The subplot of the relationship between Henry Cavill & Freida Pinto doesnt do anything to make you really care about the characters or have any relevance to the story, it just happened because, well, Greek mythology wasnt adverse to a heart wrenching love interest story for its heroes, but here it feels completely tagged on as an afterthought. While the plot doesnt hit the mark, Mickey Rourke is fantastic as the villain of the piece, hands down the most interesting character in the whole movie because of just how good at being bad he is. Increasingly Rourkes career renaissance is being based on being the go to guy when it comes to needing someone to play the role of a larger than life yet likeable villain (Sin City, Iron Man 2) and he clearly revels in the chance to misbehave on screen. Meanwhile Henry Cavill is solid as the chiselled jaw good guy; wholesome, virtuous and determined. You can see why he was chosen to be the next Superman. While it would have been a stretch to expect this film to intrigue you emotionally, the film is as visually alluring as the backing of the 300 producers suggests. It will be of no surprise to fans of 300 that the film is made up of a handful of memorable scenes, locations and costume designs. With the flashy gold armour of the gods to Henry Cavill spearing a guy from distance in trademark super slow mo, your eyes at least are never bored. The first half of the movie is standard sword and sandals fare. Throughout it you follow Henry Cavill, Freida Pinto and Stephen Dorff as they go to find (plot device A.) a magic bow before Mickey Rourke gets his villainous paws on it. The bow is Theseus Excalibur, and has the power to blow large holes in large walls and, crucially, can free the Titans, which is clearly not a good thing for our protagonists. Despite again sounding good in theory, this chase for the bow is poorly directed, there is no effort involved, no looking for clues or alluding to the ancient Greek stories that are ripe with trials and tortuous travels, its simply hey! We need to find the bow, oh look here it is. And while Theseus and friends find it first, they end up losing it almost straightway and it leaves the viewer feeling the sequence was a complete waste of runtime. Yes, yes, its understandable why they were made to lose the bow, or else we wouldnt have a story, but it all feels a bit forced. The second half thankfully is much better. A lot more actually happens, mainly the scenes that you see in the trailer. However, there are only really 3 of these big scenes during the whole movie, but when those scenes eventually happen, they are the gems of the movie. You can see where the 300 producers earned their pennies. 300 made its name due to the fight scenes and as fight scenes go, they are Immortals best moments. Quite simply if you liked 300, you can expect more of the same. The fight scenes with Henry Cavill elevate the movie to the next level, particularly when you see him take on 20 guys with a notably similar camera angle to that scene in 300 when Gerard Butlers King Leonidas was being extra awesome. The film ups the ante when the gods get involved and of course the big throw down at the end, when the now trademark comic book effects are given both barrels. Overall, this film is ok with hints of greatness. Greek mythology purists or anyone expecting another Troy will be disappointed, but if you go to this looking for an uncomplicated, visually enticing, 300-type action film, you'll love this. Immortals is available now in the UK on all the usual formats.
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Jeff Ball is a Geordie with a Newcastle Falcons season ticket, a rugby coaching badge, a bias for Newcastle United on Playstation games and was terrified by Jurassic Park as a child. For more of his personal musings following him on Twitter @JeffreyBall
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