Why I Enjoy Gods of Egypt

 There are many reasons why I shouldn't enjoy the 2016 film, Gods of Egypt.  Firstly, it stars Brenton Thwaites, an actor that I've only enjoyed in a single film, Mike Flanagan's Oculus.  Co-starrring in this film are Gerard Butler and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau.  For me, Butler can often play an alpha male character (and he sure is an alpha male here) that comes across as hideously obnoxious and gag inducing.  Coster-Waldau starred in a film where, even after reading the synopsis and rewatching scenes, I could not remember a single story element.  We also have a drab performance from Courtney Eaton as an ineffectual love interest for Thwaites lead.

Outside of the cast, there are other issues here.  Our main character, Bek (Thwaites) is an annoying little snot.  It's really too bad that he's the protagonist, because he just makes me want to disavow any and forms of cinema so I don't risk coming across him again in the future.  Bek is somehow established as a master thief after he steals a dress by merely pulling it off the rack at a stall and then managing to outrun the proprietor.  Suddenly he is a tomb raider, doing backflips and all sorts of insane acrobatics.  But hey, he showed he could take a dress off a rack.  Not just anyone can accomplish that.

I really should hate this film, and I truly did after the first time I watched it.  However, I found myself returning for a second and third time, before finally coming to the conclusion that I do indeed enjoy this movie.  Now, after a fourth viewing, I reaffirmed my love for this horribly flawed film.

The greatest attribute of Gods of Egypt is that it is completely unashamed of itself.  It is bonkers mad, and as insane as it gets, director Alex Proyas has no problem doubling down and taking it further down the road of absurdity.  Far too often, movies with crazy concepts feel like they don't want to lean in fully, and struggle between far out ideas and trying to keep the movie serious.

There is nothing serious at all about Gods of Egypt, and that's why it works.  The setting is ancient Egypt, where gods live among mortals.  Set (Butler) decides he's going to be the next king instead of his nephew Horus (Coster-Waldua).  Set kills his own brother, and then robs Set of his eyes.  We don't know yet, but Set is basically going to mod himself out to become really powerful, and will use of one Horus' eyes in his tricked out god form.  The gods, it seems, are able to transform into less than awesomely CGIed mythical creatures made of gold.  Yes, let the insanity begin.

Bek needs to get Horus to help him out, because his blank slate of a girlfriend done got herself killed, and he wants to rescue her from the afterlife.  He steals one of Horus' eyes from a super secure vault (he has the ability to do this because he knows how to take dresses off racks without permission from shop owners), and then returns it to Horus in exchange for his help returning girlfriend back to the land of the living.

As the film progresses, we get to see many more outstandingly insane elements than just the gods shapeshifting into visual effects.  Geoffrey Rush is captaining some sort of celestial schooner, using a septer to daily shoot fire at a space worm.  There are witches riding massive dessert snakes.  The late Chadwick Boseman plays Thoth, a very studious god who surrounds himself with dozens of versions of himself, constantly wondering around with scrolls and pondering.  Proyas doubles down on the ludicrous, and I find that the film bizarrely works because of this.

Gods of Egypt may not be for everyone, but for those who don't mind a movie that doesn't take itself super seriously, this film could scratch your itch.  The key is to have low expectations.  This isn't your typical blockbuster, and there are many things that are laughable.  The key is to just laugh with it, and enjoy all of the insanity that the film embraces.