Dark and gritty superhero dramas are certainly nothing new to the cinematic landscape, with stories like Watchmen, Powers and relative newcomer Daredevil all tackling some of the darker aspects of the superhero genre.
Renny Harlin (Cliffhanger, Die Hard 2) is back to work on his newest project, Hercules: The Legend Begins. The film will explore the origins of the fictional Hercules, son of Zeus. The plot centers around Hercules being exiled and fighting his way home to the woman he loves, Hebe, despite her being promised to his brother.
Kellan Lutz is set to star as the titular Hercules, but this won’t be Lutz’s first Greek mythological rodeo – you may remember him as Poseidon in the 2011 movie Immortals. He also took to the big screen in the cash cow Twilight trilogy as Emmett Cullen, so it’s safe to say Lutz’s screen presence won’t be an issue. However, there is a five hundred-pound elephant in the room – An itty bitty Brett Ratner film starring Dwayne Johnson. I think, wait, no I’m sure it’s called Hercules: The Thracian Wars. Yeah, that’s definitely it. Both films are coming out in 2014, so it will be very interesting to see which movie steals the other’s thunder.
I think it’s safe to say The Rock isn’t gonna be upstaged by anyone. We’re several years removed from the Tooth Fairy, and I don’t see a return to those days any time soon. Not to mention the budgets for both films are wildly different: Thracian Wars is coming in at approximately $110 million, as opposed to The Legend Begins‘s modest $70 million. Money certainly doesn’t guarantee a movie’s quality, and doesn’t always guarantee box office success, so the $40 million discrepancy doesn’t necessarily point to The Legend Begins‘s demise (I invite you to read up on a feature film titled Cutthroat Island if you dispute that claim). We’ll have to wait until both films have hit theatres to see who wins out in the end.
The producers of The Legend Begins are aiming for a mixture of Gladiator and 300, however I’m also seeing remnants of Starz TV’s Spartacus. What’s unfortunate is many writers and critics are giving this film a bad rap already, solely based on the trailer. Judging a movie nine months before a release is a bold move. Keep in mind, before you follow the opinions of these critics, that trailers don’t always fall in line with the overall quality of the movie. Some of the most satisfying movies are the ones with the least revealing trailers. I hope it gets a fair shake and it looks like it has potential to satisfy fans of this genre.