Hercules (2014) Reviews

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Terence Gavish


  • Paul Donovan 3 years ago
    328 of 347 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    This is a brand new version of an old legend, July 25, 2014
    Paul Donovan
    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)

    Nine Things about the Film “Hercules” [USA, 2014]

    1. This is a very interesting version of the Hercules legend. But you need to know, the legend has been reinvented. The trailer for the movie is kind of misleading. This is not the Hercules you are used to..

    2. The birth of Hercules, his childhood, and his legendary 12 labors are all pretty much done before the opening credits.

    3. In this movie, Hercules is really just a human mercenary, with a team of warriors helping him out. His nephew has the sole job of making up the legends of Hercules and spreading them around to give Hercules a badass reputation.

    4. It is set in a time when people are starting to doubt the existence of gods and magic, but still need something to believe in.

    5. This movie has some really impressive, epic battle scenes.

    6. Hercules’s companions are a diverse and entertaining group. Ian McShane is especially good as Amphiaraus, who does drugs and gets “visions from the gods”. Some of these visions come true, and some don’t.

    7. The movie does a good job of illustrating that some monsters you have to battle are psychological ones.

    8. There are a few moments that contradict the movie’s attempt to stay grounded in reality. That’s annoying. But there aren’t very many of them.

    9. If you want a movie full of gods and monsters, you will leave the theater angry. If you like to see military battles, and a reflection on how heroes are made, you may appreciate it. This movie is certainly smarter and more layered than most movies of this type.


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  • Christopher Kennison 3 years ago
    117 of 132 people found the following review helpful
    3.0 out of 5 stars
    A SHORT STEP UP, August 1, 2014
    Christopher Kennison (Jefferson City, Mo United States) –

    Renny Harlin’s “Legend of Hercules” that was released earlier this year wasn’t very good. Maybe that’s why Brett Ratner’s “Hercules” is coming out now, in the middle of the summer when there’s a fresh new audience of people that no longer remember “Legend”. The two movies, while about the same thing, are like night and day. “Legend” was more mythological and true to the legend of the strongman and “Hercules” is more grounded in reality; focusing upon how legends are created and exaggerated.

    I found this aspect of “Herclues” really rewarding because I like things grounded in reality. Even when things get ridiculous, I like when they play it off as ridiculous, rather than normalcy. Ratner took all the mythological aspects of Hercules and made them stories or possible exaggerations to be believed or not. On the surface, Hercules (Dwayne Johnson aka The Rock) is just a man with great size and strength, but his legend has spread and he is worshipped as something more than just a man.

    “Hercules” did a lot of things right but that depends upon what you’re looking for. If you’re looking for something along the lines of “300” or “Clash of the Titans”, look elsewhere. As I said, this is Hercules grounded in reality. There will be nothing portrayed here that is beyond possibility. Ratner makes sure that you have a strong emotional contact with Hercules and his band of warriors; again, something I really like.

    This was a role that Dwayne Johnson was seemingly born to play and it is probably one of his best movies to date. Surprisingly enough, along with the machismo, the movie is written with some pretty good comedy as well; which adds to the personal connection you feel with the characters. “Hercules” is a step up from “Legend of Hercules” due to its character development and story, but not a huge step up. It still lacks in importance and it still had a conclusion you could see a mile away. The outstanding 3D, fight sequences, character development and comedy saved the day though, making “Hercules” a passable summer movie that should have grand success on video.


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  • Christopher Schwinger 3 years ago
    96 of 109 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    A more psychologically developed superhero than usual; excellent pitched battles; rewarding production quality and values, July 29, 2014
    This year of 2014, there have been two Hercules movies. The first, The Legend of Hercules, was decent, though it offered nothing unique. This one starring Dwayne Johnson has more development of the theme of courage and more unexpected plot twists. I approach most movies without a lot of expectations, knowing I’ll find a movie somewhat rewarding if the values, writing, and editing are good. This one gave me more enjoyment than I expected. Hercules is the natural choice for an ancient superhero. When you add themes of justice and the rights of the people and make that Hercules’ cause to fight for, he becomes as relatable as Superman, Batman, or Spiderman. One of the strengths of this superhero movie is that it’s not primarily about supernatural powers but about the meaning of courage. Hercules does have superhuman strength in this, but his victory always depends on triumphing over internal struggles first. His powers don’t come very naturally, so he’s easier to relate to. Hercules in this movie is more like John Henry, the American railroad worker superhero, than like a demigod. In fact, the movie goes to extra lengths to convince you he’s just a man, not a god. I feel like it developed the internal struggles of a superhero better than most superhero movies, and that made it more rewarding when he succeeds.

    When Hercules is in action on this movie, it feels truly awesome because he has to work so hard to produce that superhuman strength. The movie does a great job with the pitched battle scenes. It is as rewarding to watch them as some of the great battles on the Lord of the Rings trilogy. The movie’s intensity level is a bit stronger than I like, but it really helps that the movie stays PG-13 instead of indulging in graphic gore.

    I like the casting also, of John Hurt as the king who hires Hercules to fight his enemy, and Hercules’ several friends, and Hercules, played by Dwayne Johnson. His personality is such that he doesn’t need to express much in order to reveal his character’s mood or attitude. There are some touches of humor that add a lot, yet not so much that the movie gets silly.

    The lasting satisfaction for me is how the Greek value of physique gets fused with the Biblical value of servant leadership, exerting courage to protect those who are weak. Hercules has a strong moral code on this. Sometimes it works well to have an antihero like Jack Sparrow (Pirates of the Caribbean) be the center of a story, but that usually makes the movie more silly. There’s no blurry gray line between good and evil in this movie, but that’s not a weakness; it’s the natural way to present a character with such brute force as Hercules.

    (The intensity is the only reason I rated it 4 stars instead of 5.)


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