‘Immortals’ Review

Published 2 years ago by , Updated February 10th, 2012 at 12:15 pm,

Henry Cavill Immortals Immortals Review

Screen Rant’s Ben Kendrick reviews Immortals

Director Tarsem Singh is one of the most stimulating filmmakers operating in Hollywood today, a visionary whose films often attempt to blur the lines between cinematic entertainment and artistry, often reveling in visual spectacle. As a result, for some moviegoers, his projects have routinely been lost somewhere in the middle ground. His film The Fall has been criticized as an incoherent series of abstract imagery – and similarly, some critics disregarded his psycho-thriller The Cell as a film whose story failed to live up to the ambitions of the onscreen visuals.

So, has the director managed to strike a healthier balance with Immortals,  his most “commercial” film to date? Or does his gods and Greek warriors epic fall short under the weight of 3D visual pageantry?

While Immortals may not deliver an especially rich narrative or deep and complicated characters, the film’s story is far more linear and controlled than Singh’s other works. As result, despite relying on one-dimensional motivations and some melodramatic exchanges, the character moments successfully keep the film moving in between combat set pieces and sequences that highlight Singh’s trademark visual stylings.

Mickey Rourke Immortals Immortals Review

Mickey Rourke as King Hyperion in 'Immortals'

The story, which features some intriguing twists on Greek mythology, begins after the infamous War of the Titans – as King Hyperion (Mickey Rourke) attempts to enact revenge on the Olympians for the death of his family. Hyperion and his army slay Greek settlement after settlement in search of the Epirus Bow – a weapon created by Heracles (Steve Byers), capable of freeing the Titans from Tartarus and turning the tide against Zeus and the other gods. To combat the threat, Zeus (Luke Evans) enlists Theseus (Henry Cavill), a fearless peasant, to fight Hyperion and his army – since the Olympians have been forbidden from interfering in the battle.

 There’s no question that the narrative itself is thin – relying heavily on a series of convenient developments in order to get from point A to point B. Nearly every character’s motivation is entirely one-note, explained away in less than two sentences, and will boil down to some variation of “love,” “faith,” “honor,” etc. Even in the case of Theseus, whose character undergoes the largest transformation – from lowly-but-capable peasant to instrument of the gods – it’s nearly impossible to see any real difference in the man himself, aside from the respect he begins to cull from others throughout the course of the proceedings.

This isn’t to say that the performances themselves are entirely hollow or emotionless. Mickey Rourke carries the film with a cool and sinister take on Hyperion, tasked with delivering a ton of dialogue that, in less-capable hands, could have fallen flat. Cavill succeeds in rallying the audience to his side and definitely excels in a number of hard-hitting fight sequences. (Though, for anyone still stressed about the actor’s casting in Man of Steel, his performance as Theseus isn’t likely to give film-fans much insight into how he will play Superman, one way or the other, as the story doesn’t provide Theseus much room to be anything but a sympathetic killing machine.)

immortals red band clip Immortals Review

Luke Evans (center) leads the Olympians as Zeus in 'Immortals'

The supporting cast is equally competent: Luke Evans (playing Zeus) and Freida Pinto (playing Phaedra) ground things a bit, since a lot of the other surrounding characters are one-note warriors with no caution or remorse. Stephen Dorff also manages to bring a bit of light-hearted charm to the proceedings as Stavros – though his character is about as thin as any of Singh’s creations.

However, this film isn’t aiming to explore deep character motivations, and, to an extent, seems to revel in the simplicity of its Greek mythology “source material,”  while abandoning many of the more complicated character histories (Theseus was the son of Poseidon and King Hyperion was a Titan – though neither of these angles are directly explored in the film). Instead, Immortals successfully focuses on twisting the larger-than-life stories into compelling and, of course, interesting-looking onscreen action.

The variations on traditional mythology do not disappoint when Olympians elect to interfere in a variety of iconic ways, or when Theseus is pitted against a “Beast” in the labyrinth (among other sequences). It’s in these hyper-realistic set-pieces that Singh’s visual style really shines, as the director seems to have toiled over every single detail – setting, costume design, color palette, etc – creating some extremely rich and immersive onscreen eye candy. Where other films merely flaunt cool-looking visuals for the sake of showing audiences eye-popping CGI effects, even static set-dressings in Immortals succeed in building tension while capturing a Renaissance-like composition that is at the same time both beautiful and horrific.

Henry Cavill Freida Pinto Immortals Immortals Review

'Immortals' heroes Stavros, Theseus, Phaedra, and The Monk

That’s not to say that film is bogged down in merely attempting to look like a moving painting: Immortals also features some pretty exciting and impressively shot action. While the battles are simply not on the immense scale of films like 300 or Clash of the Titans (which featured enormous monsters and diverse fight scenarios), the combat sequences in Immortals are still impressive – especially since a pair of Theseus’ choreographed fight scenes appear to occur in one continuous take as Cavill ducks, spins, and slashes through a series of enemies. These combat sequences also make worthy use of the film’s 3D format – as spears punch through characters at odd angles and the added depth keeps bodies from overlapping in close quarter combat.

Early on, Singh conceived of a number of the film’s action sequences (as well as large-scale visuals) with 3D in mind – and the film definitely falls more on the side of the subtle-but-cool-looking 3D experience than an all-out in your face 3D extravaganza. Significant portions of the film don’t always take advantage of the added dimension, but two or three of the combat sequences (especially the finale) – along with some cool establishing shots (such as the introduction of the Titans) – make it worth the price of the format upgrade.

Immortals isn’t as over-the-top as some moviegoers might be anticipating, given its “From the Producers of 300” marketing. While it’s definitely another stylized, big-budget, swords and shields epic, the real strength of the film lies in Tarsem Singh’s imaginative vision – which is subsequently held together by an adequate story of gods, titans, and humanity. Film fans looking for deep and compelling character development or enormous CGI monsters may find the proceedings somewhat limited in scope (given Singh’s focus on a relatively grounded and thin human storyline); but for anyone interested in a mix of stunning visual compositions and brutal fight sequences, Immortals isn’t likely to disappoint.

If you’re still on the fence about Immortals, check out the trailer below:

-

[poll id="215"]

-

Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick - and let us know what you thought of the film below:

Immortals is now in theaters.

Our Rating:

3.5 out of 5
(Very Good)

Get our free email alerts on the topics and author of this article:
TAGS: immortals

45 Comments

Post a Comment

GravatarWant to change your avatar?
Go to Gravatar.com and upload your own (we'll wait)!

 Rules: No profanity or personal attacks.
 Use a valid email address or risk being banned from commenting.


If your comment doesn't show up immediately, it may have been flagged for moderation. Please try refreshing the page first, then drop us a note and we'll retrieve it.

  1. Nice – I didn’t think it would be any good!

    • THIS MOVIE WAS DEFINATELY AN A- AT THE HIGHEST, OR C. DEFINATELY HIPED UP! COULD HAVE DONE ALOT MORE WITH THE GODS. DEFINATELY HAD POTENTIAL IN ALOT OF SCENES BUT LACKED DELIVERY! JUST SEEMS IT WAS SCATTERED AND DEFINATELY NOT FINISHED! SEEMS AS IF THEY LOST MOTIVATION OR HAD SOME KIND OF DEADLINE.

  2. The action in this movie is top notch, especially when the Gods are involved.

    I enjoyed it. Entertaining movie. Definitely not “deep” but definitely fun.

    I wish it made me care about theseus more. I honestly wanted to see Hyperion die more than I wanted to see Theseus live, if that makes any sense.

    Didn’t 100% understand the very end but don’t want to spoil

  3. Just finished watching the Film ….
    I was really watching the film for the technical flow of the story and the pacing of the Movie. (After this Summer with “Green Lantern and The Transforms which were the worst edited/pacing films I’ve seen in a long,long, long, time) I was pleasantly pleased with Immortals.
    I really studied Mr. Cavill’s appoarch and method in protraying his characters. With Superman coming down the pike…it was a lil warm up before the big game..Cavill performed very well. I can’t fault him for anything else lacking in the film if it dosnt concern his acting..which is the best way to judge any film.
    Overall go into it with no *pre conceptions or post conditions..you’ll enjoy the film…its not the first “Matrix, or Aliens, or 300..its on its on…It’s decent, with special “Man loving Violence!
    Unfortunatly in this day and time we really can’t expect the basic fundementals in film making…don’t think its a given “General Audiances..sometimes you get it and its a pleasantly suprise.

  4. I’m surprised by this review. I found many flaws in this film. Lighting, backgrounds, editing, story. I didn’t 100% hate it, but I did think it draaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaged. And the 3D did nothing for me. I’d give this 2 stars.

  5. Amazing movie, exactly what I wanted to see. Great visuals, fight scenes that make the audience all together say “oooooh sh*t!!!”. Can’t wait to see it again. The 3D was great too, did not give me a head ache or make me cross eyed. Go see this film.

  6. Havent seen it yet but trailer reminds me of God Of War.

  7. It was a really decent movie… the action was pretty good, but what bothered me the most honestly were the costumes, not even the design, just the production value was terrible, they all looked liked plastic, i hated the gods designs, and the bow was designed after a modern day high tech bow, it wasn’t even the type of old style bow that you would expect, i know costumes shouldn’t be the main reason why i didn’t like it that much, but i never found the story that great either.

  8. I’d say 7.5

    Cavill’s speech before battle showed that he is definitely a force to be reckoned with. Eagerly awaiting to see what he does with Superman.

  9. Ken – if you read what I said then you must’ve read what shadow said, so shut the hell up and watch the movie

    • You’re silly, sir. Shadow didn’t spoil anything, he said he wanted to see Hyperion die more than he wanted to see Theseus live, he didn’t give anything away. You gave things away.

  10. i really don’t like the movie. it was the ordinary movie as this arena is very common in hollywood now.but the action in the end of the movie was a little bit effecting .the only thing that differentiate this movie from other movies of this arena.

  11. i really don’t like the movie. it was the ordinary movie as this arena is very common in hollywood now.but the action in the end of the movie was a little bit effecting .the only thing that differentiate this movie from other movies of this arena is the 3D effect.

  12. (Prepare for incredibly cynical review.) Didn’t like it. Everything about it was typical. From the plotline, to the characters, to the writing, to even the action and fight scenes. Completely forgettable. I guess some of the visuals were kind of cool, but I prefer something a bit more subtle rather than having it thrown in my face. I felt the same way about the gore, I don’t understand most people’s fascination and eagerness for it. I know a lot of people will enjoy this film, but personally, I didn’t enjoy it much at all … Also, who on earth designed those costumes?

  13. I give it 3/5. Visually, the movie was very good, but like Ben said, there were too many situations that just happens to get you to the next level. I would put the movie somewhere between 300 and Sucker Punch.

  14. I wouldn’t exactly say “I wanted to see X die more than Y live” is a spoiler. For one, he doesn’t say Hyperion dies. He simply says he wanted to see the villain die more than the hero live. There are implications, yes.

    Second, who really watches this kind of movie without assuming the hero lives and the villian dies? Sheesh, if you are so conscerned about having minute details revealed unintentionally, then do not read comments. Simply stop reading after the review and go about your business.

    Third, he can lie and say anything about the movie. Until you’ve seen the film yourself you have no clue whether a character dies or not.

    • You’re right, the “I wanted to see X die more than Y live” isn’t a spoiler at all. That’s exactly what I said. The actual spoiler we’re referring to has been deleted by Vic after people reported it.

      “if you are so conscerned about having minute details revealed unintentionally, then do not read comments.”
      Actually this is incorrect, it’s a widely known rule on this site that no spoilers are to be posted in the commentary: expecting people to *only* read the review and not the comments is a silly expectation, given that the whole point of this site is for folks to read the comments and have discussions. Screen Rant has dedicated “Spoiler” discussions about films, which means “NO SPOILERS” in the Regular discussions.

  15. Saw it today in 3D. I enjoyed it. Mickey was great in it. Also liked the Avengers trailer in front of it.

  16. Saw it today. I love Tarsem Singh’s style and the fight scenes were pretty darn good…not epic, but pretty darn good (except the one in the Titan’s prison room–that rocked).

    I did find myself giving the “Spock eyebrow” to the Gods costumes; they really did look kinda cheap. (And what the hell was up with those helmets??)

    Highlight was Mickey Rourke…he was just viciously good…

    Henry Cavill as Supes?? Aunno…

  17. I think there will be a part 2. The ending should be explained.

  18. Well it seems the RT critics are a bit less forgiving. Looks like I will save my cash and wait till February to see it for $1.20 (yes, Redbox is raising their rates >< )

  19. Really producers? REBAR? you have the whole might and breadth of CGI at your fingertips and you choose 20th century rebar as the rod to imprson the Titans? and then you make the eagle’s perch out of rebar as well? WELDED REBAR?!?!?!?!?!

    All through the movie I kept wondering how you idiots let that slip through!
    I want my $8.50 back.

    • That bothered me too. I thought, “Where the hell did they get rebar from in acient Greece?” lol

  20. Well, at least it’s better than Clash of the Titans. 3 out of 5 stars.

  21. Holy crap do I disagree with our review on this one. I thought this was AWFUL. Boring as hell, ridiculous, didn’t engage me very much beyond the first 20 minutes. I could have walked out at any point and not thought twice about it.

    And what the hell was Mickey Rourke complaining about Whiplash being a one dimensional character? What was King Hyperion other than a one note, moustache (or in this case, nasty, gnarly beard) twirling villain?

    Ugh.

    Vic

    • Thank you.

  22. I don’t see how anyone could have “ruined” the movie for you since it’s Greek mythology? I guess you should blame people that write down history too b cuz we learned about it in high school idiots?! Yes there are some twist & differences but just go & watch an ass kicking movie, I loved it & I can’t wait to see if they do another & hopefully soon!

    • It’s based on Greek mythology, that doesn’t mean the whole story is a word for word reflection of existing myths. It’s not, in fact. Many things were changed around to create a new story.

  23. Well, good start, but it really turned to the worse over time.
    Completely agree on cheap and silly looking gods! K. Lutz looked like princess leia wearing that strange hat-thingy, awful and ridiculous.
    Some helmets the King wore were also strange and did not fit. Anyone noticed that they had to cosntantly hide M. rourke’s big belly :-)?

    Some costumes were great though, the 4 red women were awesome.

    Story very thin, action on the better side.

    M. Rourke had the deepest character, not meaning it was “very” deep though.
    The look of the movie is very special, this was to be expected. For my taste the buildings and everything else was a bit too modern for those ancient times, it never really felt like beeing in ancient greece. And this comic kind of visual never really drags you into the movie, it is more like sitting in a theater and seeing actors on stage than in real natural surroundings. Either you like it or not.

    Worse than 300, much better than sucker punch, but not good enough to get it on blu-ray.

    The 3D was ok and not tough to watch.

  24. I will so be seeing this movie soon. I must say, I don’t really buy the ’300′ look, but it does seem to have some form of genuine art in it.

  25. Although this isn’t usually my cup of tea, I’m away this week and was looking for something to do one evening so checked it out at the local cinema.I was quite pleasantly surprised TBH. For one, its a steller cast. The fight scenes, although a bit few and far between, are well choreographed. Although I thought it got a bit outlandish at the end (even for a fantasy flick). But it has opened my eyes to the genre and I’d like to check out 300 now.

    • This movie was disappointing. I’m really tired of Hollywood changing story lines and going away from the mythology that has been constant since the beginning of film or time.
      Zues does use lightning, the titans are just outcasted gods, he allows the Gods to get slaughtered. I was not happy at all with this movie

  26. I saw this movie when it first came out and I was left impressed at some aspects and hollowed by others. The story line itself is lacking substance…. or is it the dialogue? Not sure. One thing for sure, the Titan scene were damn cool. As someone who is constantly warm, I got a chill when I saw them waiting for release.

  27. Immortals I found to be a lot more enjoyable than the clash of the titans remake. This film had a decent story,competent acting and some sweet action, all of which I felt were lacking in the cott remake. Watching the film a second time before it hits bluray might be on the cards. But the its a shame that the mythology and history wasnt delved into further and the story further fleshed out. Some may deride this film in

    *SPOILER ALERT*

    lacking in mythical beasties compaered to cott but I felt those creatures were poorly conceptualized and it was refreshing not having the film bomabarded with cgi

    *SPOILER END

    A 3/5 for me.

  28. This was a terrible movie in terms of plot and character development. If you’re 22 and love blood flying at the screen, then evidently this was Oscar-worthy. However, if you have any sense, maturity, or interest in films, this was terrible. Case in point: if the entire reason you are going to see a movie is to see 3D effects coming at you, it’s a waste of money on your part and waste of time on the filmmaker’s part to make it. Don’t replace storyline with 3D. The gods were cast in the most pathetic way possible, Poseidon apparently is a teenager and Athena (don’t get me wrong–a gorgeous) blond with no WISDOM whatsoever. She’s the goddess OF wisdom. Ares (whose name is misspelled in the credits–if the direct can’t go to the trouble of spelling gods’ names correctly, he doesn’t need to be making a movie about them) is never identified as Ares–I still can’t figure out if it’s Ares or Apollo who has the helmet that looks like rays of light–myth would indicate Apollo, reviews claim it was Ares. The acting was sub-par other than Rourke, and the writing just poor. Bottom line, I don’t care how ‘pretty’ it is (which it’s not that pretty and Greece looks nothing like the movie’s landscape), the movie had little to salvage it.

  29. *correction above–if the ‘director’ can’t go to the trouble of spelling gods’ names correctly…

Be Social, Follow Us!!