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‘Hercules’ Review Roundup: Does The Rock Live Up To The Legend?

Fri, July 25, 2014 6:55pm EDT by 6 Comments
Courtesy of Paramount

Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, in the titular role he was basically born to play, stars in ‘Hercules’, out in theaters July 25. Find out what critics have been saying!

Hercules, starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, hit theaters on July 25, and critics have been praising the admittedly kind of silly but endlessly entertaining flick for its revisionist take on the ancient Greek myth. Given that the film was directed by Brett Ratner, who also directed X-Men: The Last Stand and the Rush Hour series, many saw the pairing as a bit of a strange choice that somehow managed to work, despite all odds. Read on to find out what the critics have been saying and let us know if you’ll be watching!

‘Hercules’ Movie Review Roundup: Critics Love The Absurd Take On Greek Myth

Based on the graphic novel Hercules: The Thracian Wars, in this story Hercules has just completed his Twelve Labors. He is looking forward to an early retirement — only after one last heroic feat, of course — when he is called upon by Princess Ergenia (Rebecca Ferguson) of Thrace to protect her father, King Cotys (John Hurt), and the rest of their kingdom against the evil sorcerer Rhesus (Tobias Santelmann).

Audience Reviews: Read What Fans Say About The Flick Here!

The film is inevitably compared by critics to The Legend Of Hercules, which starred Kellan Lutz, but The Rock’s version comes out on top across the board. After all… it’s The Rock. Playing Hercules. How could it not be good?

‘Hercules’ Movie Review Roundup: Critics Love The Rock In The Titular Role

Reviews below, where one thing is universally clear: The Rock is the best.


“We’re a long way away here from the disorienting whiplash effect of most modern action movies, as sweeping overhead vistas give way to carefully framed medium shots and closeups that hone in on specific bits of action. Bone and sinew smash against swords and chariot wheels. Arrows rain down from the skies (and, in the unusually good 3D conversion, right into the audience). Shields and armor clang resoundingly on the Dolby Atmos soundtrack. And while the battle proves devastating for those on both sides, viewers may find themselves exhilarated and slightly giddy at the end of it.”

The New York Daily News:

“Ratner’s version, with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in the title role, is fast-paced, funny, and packed with – to indulge in a bit of ad-speak —eye-popping action.

“The effects are impressive, but there are none bigger than the star’s biceps. As Ratner cheerfully acknowledges, The Rock’s preposterously oversized bulk is perfectly suited to a preposterously oversized movie.

“Johnson makes his entrance wearing a conquered lion’s head and a loincloth skirt. The fact that he can pull this look off sets the tone for everything else to come.”


“It is not high art, more down to earth than 300: Rise of an Empire and as weird as Immortals, but it is perfectly solid craft. Brett Ratner gets a lot of grief, but left to his own devices (like when he’s not taking over a sinking ship and forced to meet an arbitrary release date in order to beat the departed director’s next film to theaters) he is a somewhat classic filmmaker. By that I mean he favors widescreen composition and fluid cutting over the shakey-cam and visual claustrophobia. He casts the best actors he can get his hands on and generally stays out of their way. He balances showmanship and comedy while without sacrificing the inherent reality of whatever story he is telling. Come what may, he is a student of 1970′s cinema as opposed to MTV, and it shows in every wide and visually uncluttered frame of Hercules.

USA Today:

“Putting Greek gods on the big screen can be a Herculean task. You’ve got the funny getups, stilted language and the whole immortal thing that makes suspense nearly impossible.

So credit Dwayne Johnson and director Brett Ratner, of all people, for accomplishing the near-mighty in Hercules: They’ve made a sword-and-sandal spectacle that entertains. And though it’s not the second coming of 300, this Hercules[…] proves surprisingly knowing of the legend — and surprisingly willing to tweak it.”

So, HollywoodLifers, with all that said, will you be seeing Hercules in theaters? Let us know what you think!

— Amanda Michelle Steiner

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