According to the opening of Immortals, the Gods used to battle without consequence, until one of them discovered how to kill other Gods. Then, things got super intense, until one group won out, and the losers were lowered to the status of Titans and locked in a weird box under Mount Tartaros where they are forced to stand in rows while they chew on rebar for eternity. And no one wants that. The only way to spring the Titans from their prison is to use something called the Epirus Bow, a bow that creates a never-ending supply of magic arrows, sort of like a handgun in a Jason Statham movie. You'd think the Gods would hide something that powerful more carefully, but…
Loosely based on Greek mythology and brought to you by the producers of 300, Immortals is another shiny object movie - one that doesn't offer anything other than what the commercials promise: "hot oracle babes, muscle-y guys, and everybody killing everybody else." But, for the sake of discussion, here we go:
King Hyperion (Mickey Rourke) has got his mad face on and is crushing enemies, and probably listening to the lamentations of their women, as he scours Greece for the Epirus Bow. It's never really clear why he wants to free the Titans, who are kinda blue gray and crusty looking (moisturize, everyone!), but without another throwdown between them and the Gods, who are all young and golden and shiny, including their Daddy, Zeus (Luke Evans), what excuse would we have to eat popcorn in the dark wearing plastic 3D glasses?
So, Hyperion is on the rampage, and a village carved into the side of a mountain on the sea is being evacuated. Except peasants have to leave a day later than the important people. Theseus (Henry Cavill) and his mother stay behind, along with a few others, who are set upon by Hyperion and his deformed, mask-wearing army. Someone important to Theseus gets killed, someone thirsts for revenge, and a bunch of stuff happens, leading to a major battle behind the Great Wall built next to Mount Tartaros (poor city planning at work), and the eventual throwdown d'jour between the Gods and the Titans. Along the way, we hear the Gods support a laissez-faire relationship with mortals, even though Zeus himself, in human form (John Hurt) has been grooming Theseus as a warrior for years, and as soon as the Olympian Gods are reminded of said hands-off policy, they immediately break it at every turn.
There are also some sexy oracles, lead by Phaedra (Frieda Pinto) who sees the future because she is a virgin. Wish I would have known that trick in high school. Daniel Sharman, Isabel Lucas and Kellan Lutz portray some other Gods, Aries, Athena and Poseidon, who are nearly interchangeable and not very interesting, even when they're breaking the rules and mixing it up with mortals.
There is very little original about Immortals, including the visual effects, which are about the best thing it has going for it. Director Tarsem Singh relies a lot on the look of 300 and Clash Of The Titans and suffers with many of the same problems: poor character development, impossible to follow fight sequences, and a phalanx of characters who are lifting freely from other films; from the "I am Spartacus" moment of the lesser Oracles, to Theseus' sidekick, Stavros, who Stephen Dorff plays like a wise-cracking, sexual innuendo-laden Stifler of ancient Greece. And when Rourke delivers a line like, "Let me enlighten you, Priest," and then lights a priest on fire, how can you not see that as a tip of the hat to every Schwarzenegger movie from the 80s?
People are splattered in slo-mo and 3D, which has gotta hurt in any dimension, a devoted monk threatens to take his own life and then grosses everyone in the room out when King Hyperion calls his bluff, and we all get to see the bull of Phalaris in action, which is not the same as the Minotaur, who is also here, and…ah, this stuff just goes on and on. I left this one feeling as empty as my popcorn bag.