The experience of watching Gods of Egypt was a lot like spending time with an ignorant drunk when you’re sober – it’s incoherent and kind of fun at first, but becomes annoying and a little racist the more it rambles on.
Gods tells the story of Horus (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), an Egyptian god who must battle against his evil uncle Set (Gerard Butler) when he usurps the throne of Egypt from him on the day of his coronation.
Disgraced and alone Horus relies on the few divine friends he has left and a plucky mortal thief, Bek (Brenton Thwaites), who may be his best chance at saving the known world from complete devastation.
Gods is not a good film. It’s overly long, overly reliant on CGI and has more loose plot threads than a poorly wrapped mummy. But, much like Horus’ shiny armour, there were a few bright spots.
Script-wise it’s an utter mess – like a crappy pyramid made of clichés with a mouldy corpse full of stereotypes buried in its centre.
No one besides Horus and Bek have any compelling reason to do anything, and I found myself at times forgetting why I should care about any of the characters and constantly questioning why they were acting the way they were.
Ironically, for a film about gods, the movie relied on the go to plot device of all lazy scriptwriters – the ‘deus ex machina’, which basically means when you write yourself into a corner, then just have god turn up and fix it all.
The use of divine intervention robbed the film of any weight, and the lack of consequences to anyone’s actions turned me off to the film. Everything is unearned and, without sacrifice, it’s boring, uncompelling, and completely without stakes.
Tonally, Gods is about as changeable as the vast Egyptian desert. In some moments, it wants us to take everything seriously, while the next it wants us to laugh along. There are so many tonal gear shifts throughout that it’s enough to give the viewer whiplash.
I did like the world that the film’s director, Alex Proyas, created – which is probably to be expected from the man who brought us Dark City. Some of the visuals were really impressive and I liked the sets.
Speaking of sets, it’s time to talk about Gerard Butler as Set. I have no idea what film Butler thought he was in, but it was clearly a different movie to the one everyone else was in.
It’s almost like he’s doing a bad impression of Robert Downey Jr as Tony Stark. There’s all the cocksure banter and dickish behaviour, only with none of the charm to back it up.
Thank Ra above then for Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Horus, or as I liked to think of him while watching the film, ‘the golden snitch’ – he didn’t do much but what he did do was easily worth 150 points. He was easily the best thing in the film.
It’s such a shame then that his co-star Brenton Thwaites gives one of my least favourite performances of the year. His character is the very definition of a Marty Stu – good at everything and about as compelling as defrosting a freezer.
You could write a whole thesis on both whitewashing and the role of women in this crapfest – women exist to be rescued by white men, basically. It was insulting.
A good main character and an interesting world aside, there’s not much to like in Gods of Egypt and an awful lot to hate.