Movie Review: Immortals

Ah, another testosterone movie.  It’s been too long.  Other than Fast Five (which was fuckin’ awesome and the best in the series by far), Conan The Barbarian, and Killer Elite, we haven’t had much of those this year.  I had high hopes for Captain America and Cowboys and Aliens, but both of those movies fell flat for me.  2011 has been a very bleak year for Alpha male movies.

So now we have Immortals.  I knew nothing about this movie going in (other than the trailers looked like 300) and had no expectations at all, positive or negative.  The day before I saw it I discovered it was directed by Tarsem Singh, the guy who directed The Cell.  On one hand, this made me happy because the visuals in The Cell were groundbreaking.  On the other hand, I was worried that Singh would turn a movie about Greek gods into an artsy-fartsy flick.

Immortals was good.  Not great, but good.  It was better than the recent Conan, which I somewhat liked, but not as good as 300. But it had it moments…the battle between the gods and the titans at the end was cooler than anything in 300.

What I Liked

  • Thank god, a Greek god, Tarsem Singh did not make this movie into some boring artsy flick.  It’s a blood and guts Alpha male kickass movie.  From the very beginning when the hero hears a solider call his mom a whore, and responds by kicking five soldiers’ asses.  When the soldiers’ commander apologizes to the hero, he responds by doing a “whatever” while purposely walking into him as he passes.  Awesome.
  • The hero of the movie (Theseus, of Theseus and the Minotaur fame) is played by Henry Cavill, who is going to play Superman in Hollywood’s next Superman effort next year.  I was worried he would be like a Clark Kent type trying to be a badass in this movie.  Instead, he was totally believable as a bad mother fucker, every bit as good as Jason Momoa.  Well done.
  • Best thing about this movie: Mickey Rourke.  He steals the show.  This is the best I’ve ever seen him, and I’ve liked Mickey Rourke since he was playing Alpha males back in the 80’s.  Watch this movie, and you will see the BEST evil king in any movie, ever.  (Though Patrick McGoohan playing King Edward Longshanks in Braveheart is a very, very close second.)  Immortals is worth seeing just to watch Mickey Rourke.  Liked Rourke in Sin City?  He’s even better here.  God damn he’s awesome in this.  Every scene with him in it I wanted to last forever. Expendables 2 can’t come fast enough.
  • Hey!  It’s a fantasy movie with no female characters easily beating the crap out of men double their size!  Wow! What a nice change.  Score one for realism.  (There was a scene where a tiny woman was kicking ass, but she was a god, so it made sense.)  However it’s not all chocolates and roses…one of the trailers was for a movie called Haywire, which is an entire movie of, you guessed it, some little woman beating the crap out of men double her size.  (Columbiana, anyone?)  Sigh.  I guess we can’t escape it, folks.
  • The action scenes kicked ass.  I mean they’re really good.  Wait until the end of the movie to see some serious shit.
  • 3D.  Now look.  I’ve been very clear about how much I hate this stupid 3D craze.  Okay, yes, the 3D was cool in Avatar, but does that mean every fucking movie have to be 3D now?  95% of the time the 3D in movies is a waste of time and a waste of my money and it makes the movie look darker.  I mentioned how bad the 3D was in Conan in my last movie review.  I usually try to go out of my way to see the non-3D version of a movie when it comes out.  However, this time, the 3D was appropriate.  No surprise, the visuals of Immortals are extraordinary. This is one of the few times the 3D actually made the movie as a whole look better.  Plus, they didn’t try to throw the 3D in your face.  No arrows shooting at the screen or any silly crap like that.  Instead the 3D was like it was in Avatar…it was immersive, not invasive.
  • Lots of very cool Alpha male moments.  These are the moments in movies that make me happy.  I try to be spoiler-free so I don’t want to give too much away.  Pay close attention to how Mickey Rourke meets his end. (That’s not a spoiler; he’s the villain so you know he has to die.)

What I Did Not Like

  • Problem number one, not enough action.  Movies like Green Lantern showed us that action doesn’t mean shit if for the entire two hours you halt the entire movie every five minutes to pause for a sappy romantic interlude. Movies like 300 showed us that you can have cool characters and a cool plot and tons of action on top of it and still make a good movie.  And yes, movies like Van Helsing showed us that wall-to-wall action without letting us take a breath is a little too much no matter how good it looks.  While Immortals is not nearly as bad as Green Lantern, it still fails on the amount of action.  The action scenes it does have are amazing, but if I’m sitting there in the theater during various parts of the movie thinking “C’mon dammit, get to the action!”, then your movie doesn’t have enough action.  Immortals wasn’t boring, don’t get me wrong.  It just needed more action.  Much more.
  • It’s a Hollywood movie, so there are plenty of plot holes.
  • It’s a Hollywood movie, so political correctness is shoved down your throat.  It’s a movie set in ancient Greece, 1211 BC to be exact, and there are African American characters.  What the fuck?  Black soldiers, hot female black oracles…oh Christ.  There were no black people in ancient Greece you elitist liberal guilt-ridden Hollywood pricks!  Yes, Greece was aware of black people in Egypt back then, but having a percentage of the characters in an ancient Greece movie be black?  Jesus.  Kill me.  (My son is black, so calling me a racist would be interesting.  I just hate it when black/Asian/Latino characters are shoved into movies where they clearly don’t belong and appear wildly out of place just to satisfy white American guilt and political correctness.  It happens all the time these days and it’s childish.)
  • As I alluded to in the picture above, the Greek gods in this movie are portrayed by younger actors.  I understand it was a style choice, and the actors all did very good jobs, but that just seems wrong.  Greek gods are big muscular old guys with big beards,as portrayed in Clash of the Titans and most other Greek god movies. They’re not young British prettyboys.  It just didn’t work.  However, as the movie progressed, I had less and less of a problem with it and soon was buying it.  That’s a testament to the director.  And the final battle they engage in at the end makes up for a lot of my disappointment.  Still…
So other than possibly the next Mission Impossible movie in a few weeks, Immortals is the last Alpha movie of the year.  Not bad, but 2011 still sucked for guy movies.  Now…2012?  Underworld, The Grey, Safe House, Act of Valor, Ghost Rider, John Carter, Wrath of the Titans, Avengers, Battleship, Dark Knight Rises, the new Bourne movie, the Judge Dredd reboot, the new James Bond, and on and on.  Oh, us guys are in for some really good shit in the theaters in 2012.  Finally.

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