Immortals, released in 2011, is another beautiful piece of cinema from director Tarsem Singh. Famed for his stunning visual style, Singh also worked on projects like The Cell in years gone by. With stars like Henry Cavill, also cast as Superman, and Mickey Rourke, whose comeback began with The Wrestler and didn't stop, the film had the talent to make it a smash.
Generally speaking, Immortals is a retelling of the epic of Theseus, if it took several dozen queues from the remade Clash of the Titans. King Hyperion leads an army of brutal warriors bent on wiping out the gods themselves by releasing the imprisoned titans. All Hyperion needs is an ancient artifact strong enough to break their bonds and turn the primordial horde loose upon the world once again. Though cities and armies have fallen, Theseus needs to stand up and become a leader of men to halt Hyperion's last push as he opens the gates to the ancient holding place of the titans.
Immortals is an undeniably beautiful film, with visuals unlike anything that most films would risk trying. The movie takes the literal tales of Greek myth, such as the battle with the Minotaur, and turns them into a disjointed collection of metaphors in Theseus's struggle to stop Hyperion and save the world from total domination. Avid readers of Greek myth will see very little of the Theseus saga that's done literally, with the film using other action sequences more in line with the over-arching big bad villain plot.
However, despite the brilliant visuals and amazing action sequences, there was something that stands out about Immortals. Namely that the bad guy wins. The film ends with a capstone, hand to hand battle between Theseus and Hyperion with lots of dark philosophy thrown into the mix about the nature of immortality and death. However, while dramatic, this fight takes place directly AFTER Hyperion has released the titans. Killing him at that point is meaningless; he had one goal as a villain, and that goal was to unleash the titans to murder the world. He did that, and in his way, Hyperion wins. This victory seems to be the basis for the potential sequel that the ending hints at, but which doesn't seem too terribly likely at this point.
Immortals was, by and large, carried on the uniqueness of its appearance. The storyline didn't lend itself well to conventions or to mythology, and the audience reaction wasn't as strong as a sequel film would demand.