The Northman

The Northman ★★★½

I've been on a Manowar kick this week, and that turns out to be just the kick to be on for a leadup to this movie, that gives its hero a choice between slaking his thirst with the blood of his enemies, or enjoying a happily ever after where he gets to bang Anya Taylor-Joy, and you know which one he's going to pick.

This is a Viking movie as a barbarian movie, and I mean barbarian: early on when we catch up to our now-grown Amleth, who has honed his killing craft, he's part of a raiding party which is all in on the plundering, slaving, and the killing of all who wouldn't be useful to them. (and a few just because they're there.) He has a weary look in his eye like he's finally having an “Are we the baddies?” moment, but no, he just spots a useful vector for his vengeance plan. Things aren't going to get any less murdery, but at least they become more in service to his perfectly understandable revenge mission.

Isn't there more to life than avenging the murder of your father? You'd think so, Anya Taylor-Joy is right there, but our heart-ripping, body-defiling, centaur-crucifying (uh, you kinda have to see it) Norseman just doesn't seem like the kind of guy who's going to figure that out, even with Anya Taylor-Joy there, naked, with a ticket to a place which sounds a perfectly nice place to retire to. Some men will literally fight each other naked on a volcano rather than go to therapy.

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