Despite the numerous and unfortunate comparisons, The Immortals directed by Tarsem Singh is no 300. It may have the same look (and producer), but it does not have the same raw emotion.
While the film is disappointing in countless ways, I will limit myself to the following 3.5 points:
1. a.) As Theseus, Henry Cavill can bring the pretty, but he does not do much in the presence department. Butler was utterly watchable in 300 because he seemed to understand unquestionably what the role of Leonidas called for: bravado and general baddassery with a splash of unbalanced. Cavill is waaaaaaay too earnest and a bit flat. In other words, I’m not convinced he was the best champion for the gods because he does not help me to believe it, which makes me worried about the Superman reboot with Cavill in the lead role, not to mention Dances-With-Flops Costner, as Pa Kent.
b.) I also do not have a good feeling about Singh’s Mirror, Mirror, a film that will be the Wyatt Earp, as opposed to the winning Tombstone, in its battle with Snow White and the Huntsman. Singh knows how to create an interesting visual aesthetic, or maybe his art directors do starting back with The Cell (2000), but a narrative needs more than atmosphere [see my Night Circus review].
2. Mickey Rourke has become an unflattering parody of himself, kinda like William Shatner without the irony or the girdle. And if Rourke’s performance is not bad enough, his battle helmet looks like a crab’s claw stuck in a Venus flytrap, which I found distracting though not terribly menacing.
As opposed to a hot mess, the film was a cold rumple, and I REALLY wanted to like this film. My inner fan boy needed some catharsis after last week. More importantly, I needed my faith restored in a moral universe and to believe that good does defeat evil, instead of allowing it to take early retirement and retain locker room privileges. And while Theseus “wins,” defeating a man who seeks revenge against the gods for allowing his wife and daughter to suffer cruelly, it’s not a victory that we can feel good about.