Movie Review: Immortals

★☆☆☆☆

The spiritual successor to 2006's 300, Immortals is dressed up like an epic of the Iliad variety, but this testosterone-laden kill-fest is really nothing but a dull drawl through a muffled landscape, peppered by needlessly dramatic monologues and startlingly boring violence.  

The story is as follows: Once upon a time, a group of immortals gets bored and discovers a loophole in the whole "never die" schtick. Apparently, an immortal can still kill another immortal. In light of this new information, warfare breaks out amongst them. The victors pronounce themselves gods and lock away the losers, hereafter dubbed "titans," inside a shiny cage badly hidden within the mythical Mount Tartarus.

Speed up to B.C.E. time during which the angry and buff King Hyperion (Mickey Rourke) rages around Greece searching for the Epirus Bow – a sacred weapon with the power to release the titans from captivity. Only Theseus (Henry Cavill), a man chosen by the gods, has the strength, skill and rugged good looks necessary to defeat Hyperion and stop the titans from being freed once more.  

In theory, this should be an entertaining take on old mythology, but watching Immortals is a lot like watching a fight in the middle of a sandstorm: You may hear screaming and swords clashing, but all you see is taupe. Muted taupe.  

It's a shame, because the violence is well done. Though the bloodshed is not as visually innovative as previous movies in this vein, heads still explode. The action is literally ball-busting at times, and most of the torture scenes are gritty and cruel enough to at least warrant a sympathy wince.   

Unfortunately, the film's unexpectedly dark color scheme, characterized by deep blues and – surprise, surprise – a lot of taupe, obscures each character's already barely distinguishable features and each violent encounter's goriest details, thereby dampening any sense of suspense the action would otherwise inspire.   

It's no shocker, then, that the only standout scenes are those populated by the gods. Their fights are the most colorful as well as the most stylized in the entire movie, as they glide into them wearing glorious gold armor. Too bad their frankly nonsensical decision to not interfere with mortal business keeps them chained to Mount Olympus for the majority of the time.  

As a result, instead of being blessed with action of god-like proportions, the film forces audiences to sit through a ragtag horde of paper-thin protagonists traipsing around, failing to add tension to a one-dimensional poorly paced plotline. Characters stare, speak gruffly and look tan with over-the-top solemnity. Their motivations are simple at best, nonexistent at worst, and though the actors do a competent job, not even John Hurt's wonderful British accent infuses the desired magical qualities into this pseudo-Greek myth.  

"All men's souls are immortal," says the movie's epigraph, probably to convince audiences that, "Hey, you're immortal so why not squander $6 and two hours of your life for the brief splashes of brilliance that pierce through this film's monotony?"  

In truth, you might as well do with your money what Hyperion does to the priest in the film's opening: Set it on fire. You'd get more enjoyment watching that burn than sitting through Immortals.