A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Mortal is a sci-fi/fantasy movie having to do with the Norse god Thor and a man with Thor-like powers. It's dour, chilly, and pretty far away from a Marvel movie, but it's intriguing and worth a look for mature viewers. Expect strong violence: A woman is shot in the head (with a blood spurt), and her bloody dead body is shown. A teen boy is also killed by unknown forces. He drops to the ground, and his dead body is seen. Other characters die through accidents, storms, fires, and crashes. A cop restrains a woman by putting his knee in her back. A gun is shown and fired. A character has dark burns/scars all over his body. There are also many scenes of strong shock or tension, as well as rage, pain, and screaming. Two characters kiss, and "hell" and "damn" are used infrequently. It's partly in Norwegian with English subtitles, and partly in spoken English.
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What's the story?
In MORTAL, a man named Eric (Nat Wolff) wanders the Norwegian woods, sleeping in a makeshift tent. He awakens to discover that the trees around him are on fire. He arrives at a town and steals medical supplies to treat his wounded leg; while there, he attracts the attention of local teen bullies. One approaches Eric, and the teen suddenly dies. Eric is arrested, and psychologist Christine (Iben Akerlie) is assigned to speak to him to figure out what happened. Soon, he's taken away in a helicopter but escapes when lightning strikes and the helicopter crashes. Christine decides to help Eric return to the farm where everything started and where further secrets await. Is Eric a god? Or is he something else?
Is it any good?
Norwegian director Andre Ovredal's attempt to take back a certain Norse god from Hollywood and return him home has more unanswered questions than thrills, but it's also consistently intriguing. Partly in Norwegian with English subtitles and partly in spoken English, the chilly, icily paced Mortal is indeed something of a variation on Thor. While it wouldn't do to give up any of the movie's surprises, it's safe to say that it has as little to do with the Marvel Cinematic Universe as M. Night Shyamalan's Unbreakable/Split/Glass trilogy does -- and it has an unexpectedly similar feel to those three films and their quiet sadnesses.
Mortal has a few big visual effects scenes and some small, beautiful ones, like a beam of sun in the middle of a rain shower, but many things are left to the imagination, such as a beautiful tree Eric describes seeing in a vision. The movie mainly seems interested in the choices that Eric will make -- i.e., will he behave as a god or as a man, and, more importantly, will he use his powers for good? The movie ends with the feeling that it could have dug a little deeper into its various themes, but the talented Ovredal's sure touch and strong sense of physical space and atmosphere bless the movie with enough small mysteries to make it worth seeing.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Mortal's violence. How strong or shocking is it? How did it make you feel? How much is directed toward women?
If Eric is actually a god, what would that mean? Would he have followers? What would happen to the idea of faith?
The main character seems to do bad things accidentally, but he tries to do some good things, too. Can the good things make up for the bad things? Is there a way to find balance?
Why is revenge so appealing? What does it accomplish? Can it change anything?
How does this movie compare to the Marvel Thor movies? What's similar, and what's different?
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