Hercules

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Hercules Movie Poster Image
Predictable adventure has lots of violence, decent actors.
  • PG-13
  • 2014
  • 98 minutes

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 10 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 18 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Amid the many violent battle scenes, this take on Hercules has a valuable lesson about the importance of protecting the disenfranchised and oppressed -- and also of having your friend's back when he needs help.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Hercules and his crew are all extremely loyal to each other, even though they're mercenaries who fight for gold.

Violence

Lots of fight scenes and battle sequences that lead to a hefty body count. People are killed with weapons (spears, arrows, knives, scythes, etc.) and by wolves and falling structures. There are also potentially jump-worthy scenes in the flashback when Hercules defeats the lion, hydra, and boar. Although many people die, there are only a few emotional deaths or moments: A boy's life is threatened, a woman is nearly executed, and a family is killed by hungry wolves.

Sex

Brief flashbacks to Hercules' dead wife kissing him; in one scene, she's shown nude from the back (her behind is shown, but it's a fast glimpse, and the memory turns to bloodier thoughts). Some innuendo/double entendres.

Language

A singular, meant-to-be-humorous use of the word "f--king," as well as occasional (but not frequent) use of the words "s--t" and "ass."
 

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

People in the background eat and drink at a feast.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Hercules stars Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson as an older and more experienced version of the legendary warrior. Directed by Brett Ratner and based on a comic book, the movie has lots of action/fantasy violence, a high body count (people are killed in battle, as well as by wolves and crushed by falling structures), and a scene in which a boy's life is threatened. There's also occasional but not frequent strong language (mostly "s--t," plus one "f--king") and brief flashbacks of Hercules' wife looking sultry, kissing or even disrobing (her behind is shown). People unfamiliar with the legend will learn about certain aspects of it -- like Hercules' "twelve labors," including fighting the Nemean Lion, the Lernaean Hydra, the Erymanthian Boar, and more.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byjoshua martinez August 4, 2014

13 and up.

this action/adventure movie hercules stars with the rock Dwayne johnson is a enjoyable movie to see good for your teens to see but parents you need to know that... Continue reading
Parent of a 8 and 11 year old Written byBeesdad44147 January 31, 2015

Kids Loved it

My 2 kids ages 8 & 11. Thought the movie was outstanding!! There is 1 cringe worthy "F- Bomb" half way through the movie. And the posts menti... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byStevie111 July 25, 2014

Really good but INCREDIBLY VIOLENT

This movie is quite violent and graphic, worse than some R's. The corpses were shown in detail including a family being dragged off by wolves. Dead childre... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old January 1, 2015

A-W-S-O-M-E

Waaaay better than you would think. Quite a bit stabbing, shooting, ect.. But humorous! Pretty good message about fighting for the right side. And for fans of D... Continue reading

What's the story?

Based on Radical comic Hercules: The Thracian Wars by Steve Moore, HERCULES doesn't focus on the mythology of the character as a demigod so much as the "legend" of him as famous warrior. Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson plays Hercules not as a buff young man (like Kellan Lutz in The Legend of Hercules) but as a a well-paid mercenary with a crew of specialized fighters -- his best friend, Autolycus (Rufus Sewell); seer Amphiaraus (Ian McShane); Amazon Atalanta (Ingrid Bolso Berdal)' and mute but deadly Tydeus (Aksel Hennie). Hercules' young nephew, Iolaus (Reece Ritchie), is brought along as a young storyteller. When the beautiful Ergenia (Rebecca Ferguson) pleads with Hercules to meet and take up arms for her father, Lord Cotys (John Hurt), against a demonic enemy, Hercules agrees. But things aren't always as they seem for Hercules, who has a painful past and a soft spot for the oppressed.

Is it any good?

The story and the action sequences, while mildly entertaining, are nothing spectacular -- or nothing you haven't already seen in countless similar movies. Johnson is one of Hollywood's most charismatic action stars -- he commits to his roles and generally plays likable heroes who are easy to root for in every movie -- but his Hercules is considerably broodier than other characters Johnson has played, and he leaves the humor to his co-stars, especially McShane and Sewell. These three actors are basically the chief reasons to see this popcorn action flick.

The dialogue is so formulaic that moments that should be serious or poignant are eye-rollingly obvious and almost laughable. And the flashbacks to Hercules' sexy (and dead) wife disrobing and looking sultry take away from the emotional impact of her death. When Maximus in Gladiator remembered his wife, it wasn't about how sexually attractive she was but about the fact that she was his wife and the mother of his child. It's a shame that since there's no outright romance in Hercules, the director chose to add in those unnecessary scenes, as well some off-the-mark double entendres about long swords and tongues and the like. These fall flat, unlike the many subtle jokes that McShane's Amphiaraus delivers. In the end, McShane's quiet, wise, and funny seer and Sewell's sarcastic realist steal the show, but they still can't save the movie from being just another forgettable action flick. At the very least, it's better than The Legend of Hercules.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Hercules' violence. Does the fact that the battle scenes show so much violence at once make it easier to watch in some ways? Would you consider that desensitization?

  • Compare this version to other movies about Hercules. Which one(s) do you prefer, and why? Does the movie make you want to learn more about the legend?

  • Why are myths and legends so popular in pop culture?

Movie details

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