Mortal hero Bek teams with the god Horus in an alliance against Set, the merciless god of darkness who has usurped Egypt’s throne, plunging the once peaceful and prosperous empire into chaos and conflict.
Before I start my review, there’s one issue I want to discuss, briefly. When “Gods of Egypt” was initially announced, there was a furor over the movie having a predominantly white cast. Although Chadwick Boseman, an African American, and Elodie Yung, a French-Cambodian, also star, people were outraged that the studio, Lionsgate, would make a film based on Egyptian mythology and not utilize actors from that region. I would like to quote William Shatner and say to those people, “Get a life!” This is Hollywood, and “Gods of Egypt” is light-hearted fantasy fare that is made to entertain and not be taken seriously. And entertain it does. While Mel Gibson most certainly raised the gauntlet with “The Passion of the Christ,” not only using the Latin, Aramaic, and Hebrew languages of the time for authenticity, he also utilized actors who at least looked like they could come from that region during Christ’s time. Authenticity was important for Gibson as he set out to make the definitive movie about the passion of Jesus Christ, “Gods of Egypt” attempts no such feat, it is Indiana Jones, it is The Mummy, it is pure escapist fun so just sit back and enjoy it.
It is a time when gods and mortals walk the earth together and when it is announced that Osiris (Bryan Brown), the god of the afterlife, and the kingdom’s ruler, is ready to pass the throne on to his son Horus (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), everybody rejoices. Osiris is a good leader and Horus is loved by all but before he imparts the kingdom to him, Osiris’ brother Set (Gerard Butler), appears and kills him. Claiming that he is the rightful ruler, Horus fights him but is no match for the almighty god, and in the process, Set removes Horus’ eyes before banishing him into the desert and turning the entire kingdom into slaves. A young mortal thief, Bek (Brenton Thwaites), is forced into slavery and his one true love, Zaya (Courtney Eaton), becomes a servant to Urshu (Rufus Sewell), the kingdom’s most celebrated architect and while Set becomes more and more tyrannical with each passing day, Zaya implores Bek to try and find Horus but in order for him to become powerful again, he needs his eyes, which Set has guarded in a booby-trapped enclosure. Bek steals the blueprints for Set’s traps from Urshu, which tells him what to expect and after much booby trapping, he retrieves one of the eyes and manages to escape with Zaya.
As they flee the kingdom, she is shot with an arrow and killed. When Bek finally reaches Horus’ asylum in the desert, he demands that in return for giving him his eye back, seeing that he is a god, he must raise Zaya from the dead. He reluctantly agrees and the two set out on an adventure that will transport them across foreboding deserts, into the depths of hell, and up to the heavens above, where Horus learns from his grandfather, Ra (Geoffrey Rush), the ancient Egyptian sun god, that he can regain his full strength and conquer Set, even without his other eye, but that he must first set out on a journey of self-discovery. “Gods of Egypt” is pure escapism, it entertains and thrills and successfully infuses these elements to great effect. The cast is perfect, with Gerard Butler chewing up every scene and obviously having fun with his bad guy role while Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, the Danish actor from “Game of Thrones,” is near-perfect as the swashbuckling god who gradually learns, from the mortal Bek, how to be a better immortal. This is what a big summer movie is meant to be, I don’t want to have to think about anything, all I want is to do is sit down, be entertained and leave the theater with a smile on my face. And believe me, my face carried a very big smile.
In theaters February 26th
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