Gods of Egypt is, for a critic, perhaps the worst possible movie. It’s bad, yes, but so lazy it’s hard to tackle it with the gusto one can tackle an aggressively bad movie. It’s lazy, but not so lazy that it results in the kind of baffling eccentricities that could make a movie enjoyably bad. It’s offensive, sure, but so blithely and half-assedly that even cataloging its offenses feels excessive. Sometimes movies like Gods of Egypt make me mad, because they proceed on the assumption that I (and anyone else unfortunate enough to pay money to see it) am stupid; Gods of Egypt, though, is itself so stupid that it doesn’t even have the internal coherence to register an opinion about its audience. It is mostly indistinguishable from 127 minutes of random GIFs set to a soundtrack of a crying infant clanging pots and pans. Scratch that: it’s distinguishable because it’s in 3-D IMAX, so it’s substantially worse.
I refuse to dignify the unbaked puddle of moldy batter this film barfs up in lieu of a plot with a summary. It has all the elements of a classic Hollywood tale built on the classic mythical and allegorical foundations served up with all the thought, care, and creativity one gets when your script is written by five MBAs in an hour mostly spent playing Crossy Road. This movie feels like what an adult thinks would happen if a seven-year-old had an idea to make a movie about Egyptian gods and then a movie studio decided to actually let them do it. When you actually let children do this, you get something much more weird and fascinating than Gods of Egypt. Gods of Egypt is the dull thud of no imagination colliding with no passion. It’s flatter than Kansas.
Gods of Egypt makes mistake after mistake in the pursuit of easy cynicism. Its three most prominent male leads are all in the wrong roles, cast based on purely superficial grounds and unable to handle any of the meager weight of their stories. Elements of the film’s cosmology that might have any metaphorical heft are so perfunctory and scrambled it would be insulting if it seemed like anyone really tried. The film’s one good character, played with aplomb by Chadwick Boseman, is fatally hobbled in playing Toth, God of Wisdom, because his intelligence is strictly bounded by the collective intelligence of the filmmakers, which is so vanishingly tiny that it could only be detected by the Large Hadron Collider. The film’s one memorable scene, anchored by a genuinely stunning vision of a world beyond our grasp and the always-compelling Geoffrey Rush, would be the kind of scene that would stand on its own in a movie that had any sense of worldbuilding or awe. Instead, they return to that scene later so there can be fighting and explosions. Gods of Egypt has all the storytelling discipline of a dog humping a stuffed Pikachu.
Gods of Egypt is 95% CGI and 5% cleavage. Nothing is at stake, nothing makes sense, and nothing indicates that anyone involved cared. Gods are thousand-year-old giants with crazy powers and gold blood who have only one weakness, which is being stabbed, apparently. It’s the kind of movie where nobody eats or goes to the bathroom because nobody involved actually thought for even a fraction of a second of what life might really be like in the world of this movie. Usually this kind of big-budget noise-show is at least cynical enough to be based on a comic book or YA novel with a built-in audience. Gods of Egypt is, instead, an entirely original idea, unmoored from anything other than the idea that moviegoers want to watch something indistinguishable from the experience of watching somebody else play a mediocre video game. Gods of Egypt isn’t a dumpster fire; it’s a dumpster soaked in kerosene that nobody could even be bothered to set alight. The only thing set on fire in relation to Gods of Egypt is the $140 million spent to create it.