Theseus (Henry Cavill, who will soon be better known as the latest Superman) leads a noble band of travelers across ancient Greece in search of vengeance for his mother’s death at the hands of the evil King Hyperion (Mickey Rourke), which he attains with the assistance of the gods themselves. That’s pretty much it in the way of story so feel free to consider your comparisons to 300 or Clash of the Titans valid when it comes to plot. What Immortals does have going for it is the over-the-top visual sense of director Tarsem Singh (The Cell, The Fall). The CGI set pieces are epic (a tidal wave occurs in the first half of the film that easily rivals the apocalyptic climax of Melancholia in both impact and volume), the set decorations and props are classy and weird (a bull-shaped torture device, strangely placed giant heads wrapped in bandages), and the obvious influence of Renaissance art is unique to a genre that usually takes its cues from comic books. Singh does pull from modern geek culture for the many action scenes, which take major cues from video games with their gore-heavy, slow motion fatalities, ruthless decapitations, and outrageous use of weaponry (the film’s MacGuffin comes in the form of a magical bow that looks like it was plucked from an Xbox console). While the costumes are simple enough, characters are usually adorned with giant, overwrought accessories that alternate between interesting and inexplicable. The villains resemble an amalgamation of metal birds, Predators, and Saw-like torture devices; from up close Rourke’s war helmet looks like a Sarlacc with a crab claw on its head, from further away he looks like a bunny. Great fun if you’re up for it with a sequel-establishing postscript through which Singh illustrates that his Sistine Chapel is yet to come.
Immortals opens in Philly-area theaters today.