However bleak the future appears for Greece right now, at least it can comfort itself with the knowledge that the roost isn’t ruled by Mickey Rourke’s loopy king Hyperion, the big bad in Tarsem Singh’s stylised actioner.
Here, the mad monarch has put the country to the sword in his quest to locate a magical bow that will enable him to get payback against Zeus (Luke Evans) and the rest of the gods up on Mount Olympus.
Luckily, mankind has a saviour in Theseus (Man Of Steel Henry Cavill), a conveniently ripped stonemason who leads the resistance against Rourke’s legions after his mum joins the butchered.
The stage is set for a spectacular showdown in the vein of Troy, 300 and other ancient epics. Or it would be, had Singh not allowed his elaborate design concept – think Clash Of The Titans meets Caravaggio – to take precedence over story, character and forward momentum.
When they arrive, the battles are stirring, majestic and eye-popping. Between them, alas, lie chasms of boredom, sibling writers Charley and Vlas Parlapanides advancing the plot at a glacial pace that makes that allusion to paintings only too fitting.
With so little to get invested in, don’t be surprised if you find yourself pondering why Rourke’s helmet looks like a giant lobster or why Poseidon’s seashell head-piece resembles a bra.
The dialogue, meanwhile, is beyond clunky, whether bellowed by Cavill, rasped by Rourke or sneerily thrown away by Stephen Dorff’s cynical thief.
Immortals rouses itself out of its self-imposed slumber during a bruising Minotaur face-off, a thunderous scrap inside a tunnel and the gods’ climactic battle against some newly freed titans who make up in speed and ferocity what they lack in, well, titan-ness.
But since we never feel there is much at stake, it’s hard to care who wins out in a film that proves visual flair alone does not a satisfying blockbuster make.
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Good-looking to a fault, Immortals boasts moments of undeniable grandeur. Elsewhere, though, it is deathly dull. Tarsem Singh may well be an artistic visionary. Unfortunately, his sense of storytelling here is vision-impaired.