Hercules Review

The Plot

Brett Ratner and Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson bring a new version of half-man half-God all muscle Hercules to the big screen. With his stories being spread across the land, Hercules (Johnson) is hired by Lord Cotys (John Hurt) to bring down King Eurystheus (Joseph Fiennes) with a small army of men and his loyal companions.

The Good

Brett Ratner is known mostly these days for directing the third and what most fans perceive as the worst instalment of the original X-Men Trilogy, The Last Stand. His work on Tower Heist and Movie 43 certainly didn’t help people forget this. With Hercules though, he seems to be going in the right direction. Ratner could very well have the beginnings of a franchise on his hands if Hercules does well, and at parts it deserves to do well.

The casting of Dwayne Johnson as the titular hero is a fantastic decision and Johnson proves it within the opening segment. Coming face to face with a lion, Johnson gives us a reason to believe he was born to play Hercules. And his humungous muscles certainly help. The most interesting part of Ratners new take on the old tale is the way in which he manages to dissect it and turn it into something completely different in a way. Instead of simply labelling Hercules as a God, Ryan Condal and Evan Siliotopoulos’ script brings an air of mystery surrounding the character. Is he a God or are his collection of heroic stories simply there to impress his fans and scare his foes?

A supporting cast of Ian McShane, Rufus Sewell, Aksel Hennie, Ingrid Bolso Berdal and Reece Ritchie turns Hercules from a one man hero into a team of renegades who band together to create the legend of Hercules and both characters and actors seem to have no problems with him being the main attraction. For while McShane’s character Amphiaraus in particular has some stand out moments, it really is Johnsons film.

Plenty of action makes sure that you won’t get too bored with Hercules even if his adversaries don’t really stand a chance against him.

The Bad

Humanizing Hercules in a way lowers the character at points. The demi-god lie teeters a touch too much on the human side eventually, leaving the air of mystery surrounding his past to disappear slowly along with some interest in the character. The film tries to counter-act this at one point by attempting to send the message that anyone can be a hero and using Hercules as their example. Which is all well and good except for the tiny niggling fact that Dwayne Johnson has something the average cinemagoer will probably not. Put any other person in the same situations that Johnson faces throughout the film and their lack of muscles will most definitely hinder them slightly. After all Dwayne Johnson wasn’t called the Rock ironically!

The Ugly Truth

Brett Ratner is definitely making eager strides to redeem himself from being simply known as the man who nearly ruined X-Men with Hercules. With a neat twist on the old tale and enough humour, action and Dwayne Johnson to keep audiences entertained, a sequel/franchise is definitely not the worst idea…

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