‘Hercules’ ~ The Skinny

Megara (Irina Shayk) looks on as Hercules (Dwayne Johnson) returns home from battle

Megara (Irina Shayk) looks on as Hercules (Dwayne Johnson) returns home from battle

dir. Brett Ratner

Myth is strong because in its more benevolent sense, it gives communities some idea of beginnings and meanings to things, people, and places not easily understood. Myth is the stuff that legends are made of. Mythmaking, however, is powerful and, depending on who’s telling it, this part of storytelling can inspire fear, awe, and wonder in its listeners.

Tydeus (Aksel Hennie)

Tydeus (Aksel Hennie)

We all know the story or the myth of Hercules, the strongest man in the ancient Greco-Roman world who, in the words of my mother, “didn’t let any grass grow under his feet.” Yes, the demi-god made many adventures and completed his 12 labors before he embraced his own myth. Director Brett Ratner with screenwriters Ryan Condal and Evan Spiliotopoulos brings this weathered hero to the screen in his adaptation of Steve Moore’s Radical Comics mini-series.

Hercules & Crew

Hercules & Crew

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson admirably interprets the gigantic legend, and earns respect as he casts aside his own legend as “The Rock” to give Hercules room to breathe. He looks good—real good—yet Johnson plays his muscular body to Hercules not to “The Rock”. Johnson’s Hercules is compassionate, loyal, and, even more commendable, aware that all of his heroic feats in battle could not be accomplished without his crew, among them Amphiarus (Ian McShane Deadwood), Autolycus (Rufus Sewell), Tydeus (Aksel Hennie), a mute warrior, and Atalanta (Ingrid Bolsø Berdal), the uber-skilled archer of Greek Myth. The keeper of the stories of Hercules is his nephew Iolaus (Reece Ritchie), who as a young man comes of age fighting with his uncle.

Atalanta, Archer extraordinaire (Ingrid Bolso Berdal)

Atalanta, Archer extraordinaire (Ingrid Bolso Berdal)

Hercules & Crew invigorate in exhibitions of ride-or-die loyalty in battle scenes that are worth the price of the ticket.

The screenplay is credible, and the plot twists not far-fetched as comments on power and how it is brokered to retain kingdoms are delivered plausibly by King Eurystheus (Joseph Fiennes) and Lord Cotys (John Hurt).

And that’s The Skinny!

Watch a movie … share the popcorn … feed your soul!

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