This is a bad movie about Greek gods and goddesses and Titans and slaves and monks and oracles and armies of valiant warriors battling it out for a magic bow and arrow that will give its owner ultimate power and a man named Theseus (Henry Cavill) who has to discover the Greek deity within and lead his people into battle for their freedom and blah blah blah.
It's a bad movie about all that stuff from visually obsessed nutjob Tarsem Singh. And that means it looks amazing. This is a guy who never forgot about his former life as a music video director, back when making a music video meant that you were a stylist of three minute commercials where the sole purpose was making the audience hunger for everything on screen.
So while you never knew that you wanted a pitch-black oil tsunami to wash over you, a thick black sheen of Aegean crude coating your perfectly brutal minimalist cave home, your foxy oracle girlfriend (Freida Pinto) and your own studiously acquired abs, after watching this movie you'll suddenly understand the appeal.
For maximum enjoyment of this ridiculous digital spectacle, the best course of action is to go back and look at Sofia Coppola's hazy ode to actorly disaffection, Somewhere, and then discard the standard-issue hero's journey plot of this movie. Instead, think of it as a film within Coppola's film, one where Stephen Dorff is the actor he played for Coppola, now co-starring in a Tarsem Singh movie. He's a secondary character here and his performance is the kind of coasting, "get a load of what they're making me do" acting work that stars occasionally sign on for when it means they get to act against a green screen or take a little vacation at some shooting location they've always wanted to visit.
To that unintended alternate narrative, pile on a blood feast of epic beheadings, barbed wire battle masks, lush draperies, rose petals that rain down from the sky, silent monks dressed like 70s disco diva Sylvester and female oracles wearing blood-red burkas topped with lampshades, chandeliers, feather-snake-bushes and other accessories from Lady Gaga's dream journal. You also get gnarled trees, hyenas, people roasted alive inside giant metal bulls, male-nippled breastplates that learned nothing from the George Clooney Batman movie, impalement marathons and artfully scarfaced Mickey Rourke sporting huge gold rabbit ears, strutting around growling, biting straight into pomegranates and ordering an enemy's scrotum sledgehammered after announcing the movie's craziest line: "A man's seed can be his most brutal weapon."
Got all that? No? Doesn't make sense, you say? Who cares, it's awesome. And terrible. And terribly awesome. A huge empty box loaded up with eye-stabbing, freak show silliness. You don't have to know anything about Greek gods to follow it, either, which makes it that much easier to deal with. So thanks, Tarsem Singh. Everything you touch turns weird, bad and shiny. I hate to love your films. I don't know what's going on in your head, but keep doing exactly what you're doing.