Hercules! Hercules! Hercules! (You read that while clapping, didn't you?)
We all love Disney's 1997 animated take on the demigod's story, but what do critics have to say about the latest live-action version of Hercules starring Dwayne Johnson?!
Well, Scott Foundas for Variety says Hercules gives "a refreshingly human spin" to "the mythical Greek strongman." The Brett Ratner-directed flick is "a grandly staged, solidly entertaining, old-fashioned adventure movie that does something no other Hercules movie has quite done before: it cuts the mythical son of Zeus down to human size (or as human as you can get while still being played by Dwayne Johnson.)"
Foundas credits Ratner for much of the film's success, but, he writes, "Hercules' strongest asset is Johnson, who continues to foster one of the most affable, guileless screen personas in movies today." (The Rock, FTW!)
The Hollywood Reporter's Stephen Farber also praises Johnson as "likable" and able play a character who "murder(s) legions without ever seeming sadistic." Farber notes, though, that Ratner's film "seems less likely to please the fanboy audience and sitter up some impressive box-office numbers."
Den of Geek's Ryan Lambie also praises Johnson's "obviously perfect casting as Hercules from a physical standpoint," noting that the former WWE star is "also a perennially likeable screen presence" with "real charisma, charm and comic timing." Lambie takes issue with some of the flick's CGI effects, calling them "a mixed bag," but wholly appreciates the movie's "lack of pretension."
The Guardian's Peter Bradshaw calls Hercules a "cheerfully ridiculous and entertaining film," but seems to take issue with some of the historical simplifications worked into the film, like Hercules announcing he's "the son of Zeus..." Bradshaw quips that this line is necessarily "in case there's any confusion and someone blunders up to our hero mid-battle, and says how much they enjoyed his dad's masterpiece The Cat in the Hat." (Don't diss Dr. Seuss, bro...)
Anyway, can't win 'em all, but it seems Johnson is doing justice by this incredible character. Hercules hits theaters Friday!