** (out of four)
You can’t blame the gods for wanting to intervene in human affairs; the perfectly sculpted deities do nothing but sit around in the sky and watch the violent action on the ground. Zeus (Luke Evans), however, insists that law dictates the powerful folks upstairs must stay out of it unless the titans are unleashed, which assumedly happens right after the titans are remembered. Meanwhile, mortal men battle seemingly as a result of having absolutely nothing else to do. We can only wonder how much less fighting there would be if these warriors could just find some other hobbies.
But no, these onscreen ancient societies (in this case Greece, 1228 B.C.) never have, say, woodworking class or poetry group. Yet they do have an all-powerful magic bow that can rule mankind or something, which instills endless rage into King Hyperion (Mickey Rourke), a madman who grumbles like all villains must and pokes people’s eyes out for no reason. As man will need one underdog to rise up and fight for good, chiseled peasant Theseus (Henry “The Next Superman” Cavill)--whose great destiny has been foretold by a virgin oracle (Freida Pinto) eventually faced with the rare decision of wanting to have her visions sexed out of her—takes on the mission after Hyperion kills his mom. Rest assured, none of this feels similar to “Conan the Barbarian” or “Clash of the Titans” or “Thor” at all.
Director Tarsem Singh (“The Fall”) executes an expectedly stylish, swords-and-shields free-for-all, where many characters scream and jump in slow motion and many victims suffer from fatal head splatter. Countless, repetitive battles plus stupid, stale story equals a pretty slow two hours. Cavill earns his hero status, though, and the image of a warrior in a metal bull’s head taking a mallet-powered golf swing to a defector’s crotch won’t soon be forgotten. That’s a big fat ouch in any century.
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