(The gist: True to a summer blockbuster, Hercules was not the best movie I have ever seen. However, the alternative take on the legend kept me very entertained, and I enjoyed it. The 3D was completely not worth it though.)
The latest version of [Hercules](movie:365390) (2014) approaches the tale from a different angle. Rather than another mythical retelling of Greek lore, this iteration paints Hercules as a man playing up his own myth. Rather than the son of Zeus, The Rock's Hercules is a mercenary who uses a band of loyal compatriots to craft the tales of his labors and wonders.
Honestly, going in, I did not expect much from this film. I entered the theater wanting only to see some good action and special FX, then be on my way. I feared any further demands would leave me disappointed. However, I enjoyed it more than I anticipated and for differing reasons.
The action and special FX were actually somewhat lacking. They were present, mostly in the false tellings of Hercules’s labors and a couple battle sequences, but they were not the majority of the movie, as is frequently the case with summer action blockbusters.
The 3D was woefully lacking. Like so many 3D movies, nothing was done for the 3D effect. It being filmed and presented in 3D gave the movie depth (whoopee-doo!), but nothing came out at the audience. It was only marginally more entertaining than it would have been without 3D, perhaps not at all.
Instead, the plot was more about Hercules’s band training the Thrace army, how that all spirals out, and an attempt at redemption (no spoilers, as usual!).
The acting was not stellar, but the characters were convincing enough for me to care about their plight. Of course all the explanation at Hercules being a mere man trading on his legend meandered into the ambiguous hinting at maybe, just maybe, The Rock's Hercules was truly a demigod after all. And by that point, maybe you want him to be.
My favorite part was the zombie-esque village in which one of the battles takes place. It speaks to how pervasive and mainstream the zombie phenomena is when a summer blockbuster having nothing to do with zombies still seems to nod to the craze.
I also enjoyed the exploration of myth. Not only in Hercules’s character, the movie also flirted with the subject when their nemesis was rumored to be centaurs. I liked the way the plot showed how rumors and stories grew out of realistic proportion and the effects that that fact had on people.
Hercules was a good summer movie. It was relatively mindless and easy to watch, but it did not suck. I did not instantly regret dropping the $50 or whatever it costs now to see a 3D movie in the theater.