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Film / Gods of Egypt

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Gods of Egypt is a 2016 sword-and-sandal fantasy film based on Egyptian Mythology starring Gerard Butler, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Geoffrey Rush, Élodie Yung, Brenton Thwaites, Chadwick Boseman and Courtney Eaton. It is directed by Alex Proyas and produced by Lionsgate.

Set, the merciless God of the Desert, has taken over the throne of Egypt and plunged the once peaceful and prosperous empire into chaos and conflict. Few dare to rebel against him. A young human thief, Bek, seeks the aid of the powerful god Horus to dethrone and defeat Set so that he can save the life of the woman he loves.

The film contains the following tropes:

  • Adaptational Villainy: In Egyptian mythology, while he did kill Osiris and feud with Horus, Set wasn't necessarily outright evil; he played a pivotal role in fighting Apophis and stopping him from devouring Ra every night. In this film that duty is solely Ra’s, and when Set is given the position, he opts to let Apophis devour the Earth and the afterlife rather than protect them.
  • Adaptational Wimp: Thoth, the god of wisdom, is depicted as a vain Know-Nothing Know-It-All, and gets offed by Set. Also, all of the major goddesses suffer from this.
  • Advanced Ancient Humans: By virtue of contact with the gods.
  • Alien Blood: The gods bleed molten gold.
  • All Your Powers Combined: Set takes body parts from other gods — Osiris' heart, Horus' eye, Thoth's brain and Nephthys' wings — and bonds them to his armor to gain their powers. It supposedly grants him dominion over the land, omniscience, wisdom, and protection from harm, but for the most part it's just to get him up to Ra's barge and give him enough power to withstand Ra's Sword Beam. These abilities may have had something to do with remaking the world in his image (hence why he picks those specific ones), but the film never goes into detail as to how that would play out.
  • An Aesop: Lampshaded by Ra when he explains that every god needs to learn an important lesson in their lives, and a central theme for many characters.
    • Bek needs to learn to have faith in the gods. He does, eventually. He also becomes much less self-centered, and after having started out as a thief, he ends up the steward of the kingdom.
    • Horus needs to learn to become a protector of humanity. He does.
    • Osiris needed to learn to rule as well as to set his power aside when the time was right. He did, and is cited as an exemplary god by Ra for this when Ra tries to convince Set he can yet learn his lesson.
    • Set needs to learn to be alone with himself. He fails to grasp this lesson, and instead attempts to take over the world so everybody worships him.
    • Thoth needs to learn to be wise instead of merely knowledgeable. While it takes him getting killed and returned to life by Ra, his words at Horus's coronation clearly show he has learned this lesson.
  • Appeal to Flattery: How Bek eventually gets Thoth to join the group.
    Bek: ...before it kills me, I'm going to tell it that I asked the God of Wisdom to come but he was afraid he'd get the answer wrong.
    Thoth: This is the cleverest strategy you could devise? Playing on my ego? How vain do you think I am?
    Bek, Horus and Hathor look around at all the clones of Thoth standing around them.
    Thoth: Yes, well... Fine. Fine! Let's go.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Horus and Hathor bicker constantly, but obviously love each other, even though they Cannot Spit It Out.
  • Back from the Dead:
    • Bek and his lover are both dead near the end, but are brought back when Horus asks Ra to do the impossible.
    • The other gods Set slew are shown alive at the end, implying Ra resurrected them as well.
  • Badass Boast: Horus after being taunted about his blindness:
    "Even if I were blind, deaf, and bereft of limbs, you would still be no match for me!"
  • Barred from the Afterlife: Initially, Osiris makes it so that this is averted by allowing anyone into the afterlife regardless of wealth or station in life. Set, however, changes this once he usurps his brother's rule. Under Set's new law, only those with enough wealth can pass through onto the afterlife, and he deliberately refuses to allow anyone but those most loyal to him the wealth necessary to fulfill this condition. Those that can't pay have their souls are destroyed upon being judged. In the end, Horus changes the law to have souls judged by their character, not their wealth.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Horus and Hathor, particularly after Hathor joins Horus and Bek's quest.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Horus takes back Egypt and saves the world from being destroyed, but his parents are dead and Hathor sent herself to what seems to be Hell by taking off the bracelet protecting her and giving it to Bek so he can find his wife in the afterlife. However, the film ends with Horus going to rescue her, implying that there's still hope for them to be reunited. Furthermore, Set and Osiris' deaths imply that Ra no longer has a viable replacement for his beleaguering duty to hold off Apophis, meaning either he'll have to find a new replacement or the world will again be in danger of Apophis once he perishes.
    • Or that Horus would've to make the same sacrifice as Ra did in the future.
  • Blade on a Stick: The weapon for most of the deities are magic spears. The most impressive one is Ra's golden spear that he uses to keep Apophis at bay.
  • Blinded by the Light:
    • Set defeats Horus at the beginning of the movie by shining a light into his eyes with a magical shield. His Mooks carry similar shields to keep Horus off-balance during the fight.
    • Bek uses Horus' eye to blind Urshu's guards and escape with Zaya.
  • Body to Jewel: Godly body parts turn into glowing jewels whenever Set removes them. Examples include Horus's eyes, Nephthys's wings, Thoth's brain, and Osiris's heart. They turn back into flesh-and-blood organs when returned.
  • Broken Pedestal: Horus used to look up to and idolize Set, up until the moment of his betrayal.
  • Butt-Monkey: Despite being a clever thief whom Horus has to rely on to retrieve things from dangerous places, Bek gets this treatment. He is constantly thrown around and commanded to do things, and is even called a stray baboon by Thoth.
  • Cain and Abel: Osiris and Set, because Set resents the facts that Osiris was made King of Egypt and permitted to have a son.
  • Cannot Tell a Lie: Thoth by his own admission is incapable of lying.
  • Charm Person: Hathor's powers include the ability to make any being in creation obey her will — be it man, woman, god or beast — so long as they can hear her voice and make eye contact. Only True Love can make a person immune to it - and this even includes Horus, whose true love is Hathor herself.
  • Chickification: Some of the goddesses shown are victims of this:
    • Isis, goddess of magic, Action Mom who fended off Set multiple times in the Osirian cycle AND the most powerful goddess of the Egyptian pantheon, is reduced to a whimpering mess the second Osiris is shanked by Set, and then kills herself.
    • Serqet, a primordial protection goddess considered among the most powerful, is reduced to a weak minion of Set (and is a generic skimpy-dressed human rather than a badass scorpion-taur).
  • Chrome Champion: Horus is covered with form-fitting golden armor when he transforms.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Set. He is never seen straight up fighting any other characters on equal ground. He uses underhanded means, such as killing Osiris with a surprise attack, using shields to disorient Horus, etc to get the upper hand in fights. This is despite the fact that he supposed to be the strongest Earth-bound god in the setting.
  • Cool Old Guy: Ra, the Lord of Light. He's considerably older than the other gods, but he can still keep Apophis at bay and is powerful enough that Set needs the powers of four other gods just to survive one of his attacks and still isn't powerful enough to kill him. And at the end he grants Horus' wish to bring Bek and Zaya back to life.
  • Cool Ship:
    • Ra's great barge that he uses to tow the Sun across the sky every day.
    • Nephthys has a small barge towed by a flock of birds.
    • Set has a flying chariot drawn by giant beetles.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Hathor's time as "Mistress of the West".
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Anubis is the scariest of all the gods and the only one who doesn't assume a human appearance at any point in the movie. He is also kind and professional in his job of escorting the souls of the dead to their final judgment, and when Apophis threatens the world, immediately puts himself between the demon and the souls of the dead.
  • Death Course: Bek must pass one in order to get one of Horus's eyes.
  • Disney Villain Death: Subverted. Set does plummet thousands of feet after getting his stolen wings ripped off, but he survives the impact (albeit barely). Horus finishes him off.
  • Divine Conflict: The film starts with Set killing Osiris and taking over Egypt, and throughout it all he continues waging war against the Gods who resist him, who are led by none other than his own wife, Nephthys.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Apophis, the demonic force of chaos that wants to eat all of creation. Look closely: Apophis isn't actually a giant worm or serpent, it is a two-dimensional moving gateway to somewhere else and lined with teeth.
  • Elopement: It is stated early that Bek and Zaya ran away from home together.
  • Everybody Hates Hades: Subverted. Anubis (while certainly monstrous) is depicted as being benevolent and helpful to the people who die and have to travel the Underworld, which is actually more in line with Egyptian mythology. He's also a fairly reasonable god when it comes down to it, being perfectly willing to barter with Hathor to buy Zaya's way into the afterlife.
  • Evil Tower of Ominousness: Set's obelisk, which he claims is a tribute to Ra.
  • Evil Uncle: Set to Horus.
  • Eye Scream: Set gouges out Horus' eyes.
  • Eyepatch of Power: Horus sports one throughout most of the movie, after getting one of his eyes restored.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Set gets very chummy whenever he's about to betray or kill someone. Case in point, when the leader of the Minotaurs reports that he failed to capture Horus, Set acts concerned, tells him that he should get his injuries looked at, and starts to walk away... only to spin around and decapitate him without batting an eye.
  • Five-Finger Discount: During Horus' coronation, Bek "helps" some people in order to help himself take their jewels without notice. Zaya notices this and he excuses his actions saying that he's getting tributes for the gods.
  • Flat World: The world is shown to be a colossal disc, with the land of the living on one side and the land of the dead on the other.
  • Foreshadowing: Horus mentions that Osiris' heart was never found after Set has his body dismembered. Near the end of the movie we find out that Set kept it as part of his plan to increase his own power when he tried to usurp Ra.
  • Forever War: Ra has been in constant conflict with Apophis by continuously driving it away day after day to prevent it from consuming the world in chaos and destruction. He planned to pass on this duty to Set when he was ready.
  • Friend-or-Idol Decision: At the climax, Horus has to choose between saving Bek or reclaiming his second eye, both of which are about to fall off the obelisk. He chooses Bek. Subverted in that a kid finds the eye off-screen and returns it to him after the battle.
  • Gilded Cage: Hathor's life as Set's queen—she lives in luxury, but has no power or say in what she does around Set and essentially serves as Set's Sex Slave. She explicitly calls herself his prisoner, to which Set hangs a Lampshade by commenting that her "prison" doesn't seem so bad.
  • God of Good: Osiris was this. Considering he was the only god shown that was consistently respectful of humans, wanted to make the afterlife accessible to all mortals regardless of whether they provided offerings or not, and made his first temple a place where the poor could bury their deceased loved ones.
  • God of the Dead: Anubis, natch, of the scary-looking and stickler-for-rules variety, but not at all without empathy and very protective of the dead and the afterlife in general, to the point of interposing himself between Apophis and the dead when Apophis attempts to devour the afterlife.
  • Golden Super Mode: Horus is covered in golden armor in his Super Mode. Ra also emits a bright golden glow in his most powerful form.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Apophis is a threat to all of creation, but he is not directly involved with Set's plans. He still benefits from them when Set's actions give him the chance to attack the world directly.
  • Handicapped Badass: Horus, once Bek brings him back one of his eyes. He gets the second back after defeating Set.
  • Heroic Seductress: Hathor accepts to be Set's Sex Slave to save Horus's life. Later, she also offers sex to Thoth in exchange of his help.
  • Hero of Another Story: Nephthys has been leading the divine resistance against Set's rule while Horus has been wallowing in self-pity.
  • Hold the Line: Anubis performs this at the Final Gate, holding back Apophis long enough for Horus to kill Set and restore Ra.
    Anubis: My strength is not infinite; if the Lord of the Air has any plan to rectify this, he should do so with haste!
  • Human-Focused Adaptation: Averted. While Bek has a story of his own, Horus is a prominent protagonist too.
  • Immortality Seeker: Set seeks true immortality on Earth to rule over his kingdom, not being content with immortality in the afterlife. He's willing to destroy the barrier between the lands of the living and dead to get it.
  • Instant Armor: Horus is able to manifest golden armor with wings at will. Set can do the same, though his is black without wings until he has Nephthys' wings bolted onto it.
  • Insufferable Genius: Thoth knows practically everything, a fact that he will remind you of constantly. However, he does not initially know the answer to the riddle of The Sphinx.
  • Jerkass Gods: In general, all of the male gods (except for Osiris and Anubis) as well as the goddess Hathor, have shades of this.
    • Horus starts off as pampered, arrogant and narcissistic, but grows out of it through the story.
    • Set enslaves his followers and plans to destroy the world.
    • Arguably Zig-Zagged with Ra, father of Osiris and Set, and king of all gods. When Horus calls him out on not caring about Set's evil actions, nor trying to stop him, Ra replies that Horus himself is no better (possibly on account of Horus' own Jerkass behaviour prior to Set's arrival and slaying of Osiris) and teaches Horus that he, Ra, has more important things to do — namely, to hold off the monster Apophis and prevent it from devouring the world every night. However, when Set comes to Ra, angrily calling him about the mistreatment he received as The Unfavorite son while Osiris got it all, Ra explains that it was because he wanted Set to succeed him as the world's protector against Apophis. Understandably, Set is infuriated and wants none of it; Ra having failed miserably to comprehend Set's feelings, never thinking he would perceive it as mistreatment, AND never explained himself before all was said and done either. Then, after Set is defeated and order is restored to Egypt, Ra concedes Horus' wish and resurrects Bek and Zaya, showing that he's not so uncaring after all.
    • Thoth and Hathor have shades of this as well, and Bek holds the opinion that all gods are this. Hathor is heavily implied to make her Heroic Sacrifice in order to subvert this trope and change Bek's mind. It works.
    • It could well be said that the movie is actually a deconstruction of this trope. Aside from Set, who plays the trope straight, all the gods who show these tendencies during the film are only hampered by them and either visibly grow out of them entirely or at least accept the need to put the largest part of it aside in order to help save Egypt.
  • Large and in Charge: Ra is father and king of the gods, and he grows large enough to tower over his already-towering children when drawing on his full power. In general, gods are a couple feet taller than humans and rule over them.
  • Lamprey Mouth: A distinct feature of Apophis.
  • Light Is Good: Ra, willing to forgive everything and endure an eternity of loneliness to make sure his world survives. Played with in the case of Horus, whose golden winged form evokes this trope while he's actually self-absorbed and vengeful for the sake of vengeance. He gets better by the finale.
  • Logo Joke: The Summit Entertainment logo is shaded red, and briefly takes the form of Egyptian pyramids, seen here.
  • Magical Accessory: Hathor's bracelet, which serves to protect her from being dragged to the underworld.
  • Magical Negro: The most significant character played by a black actor is Thoth, who knows more than everyone else and is killed off the second he's no longer useful. Somewhat subverted in that he is an Insufferable Genius rather than being Closer to Earth. When he's been resurrected at the end of the film, he seems to have let go of his arrogance, however.
  • Male Gaze: Invoked. Thoth orders Hathor to turn around when they visit his library. She accuses him of wanting to enjoy the view, which he both denies and confirms; he wants her to turn around so she can't use her power on him, but still enjoys the view.
  • Malevolent Masked Men: Set's human Mooks wear gold funerary masks.
  • Me's a Crowd: Thoth staffs his library with dozens of copies of himself because the only person he trusts to handle the knowledge he records is himself.
  • Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: Set's justification for his actions. He feels Ra favored Osiris over him since Osiris was given the fertile Nile and children while Set was cursed to rule the harsh desert and denied children. Ra's explanation for these actions only pushed Set further.
  • More Teeth than the Osmond Family: Apophis is basically a giant maw lined with teeth.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Hathor, who spends her time either Toplessness from the Back, covered with Modesty Bedsheet, or dressed in Stripperific outfits.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: Thoth is introduced trying to find the deeper meaning of lettuce. Horus lampshades this when he tears it up and shouts "It's lettuce!"
  • Mundane Utility: At one point, Hathor uses her bracelet to escape from Set. She takes it off, letting herself be dragged away from the mortal world, then puts it back on and pops back at another place. The experience is not the least bit pleasant, but it's "better than running".
  • My Skull Runneth Over: When Bek asks Thoth about how he could witness the creation of the world if it there was no world to watch it from, Thoth claims telling him would cause his brain to liquefy.
  • Nay-Theist: Bek knows the gods exist; he just can't be bothered to worship them, since they don't answer his prayers.
  • Nice Girl: Zaya and Hathor, who are the most selfless characters among the cast. Zaya doesn't mind dying to save Horus, believing he will free Egypt from Set. Hathor becomes Set's queen to save Horus' life and willingly gets herself banished to the underworld to give Zaya a chance to move on to the afterlife.
  • No-Sell: Hathor can compel anyone to do anything she tells them unless their heart belongs to another, with the result that her powers cannot work on Bek as he truly loves Zaya. Hathor's powers even don't work on Horus, who truly loves Hathor herself.
  • Odd Couple: Bek and Horus. A human thief who despises the gods and a jaded god who despises the humans.
  • Our Minotaurs Are Different: Set's minions include a pack of Minotaur-like gods.
  • Overshadowed by Awesome: It's quite clear that Horus is the main hero past the first third of the movie; a human like Bek can't take on the gods in a fight and there's only so much a smart thief like him can do.
  • Passing the Torch: The reason for Set's Secret Test of Character is that Ra wants him to take his place piloting the solar barge and keeping Apophis at bay. Set wants none of it.
  • Physical God: All of the gods in the film are physical beings yet are distinguished from humans by considerable height, liquid gold instead of blood, a variety of powers, and in some cases being connected to the element they represent. For instance, Set is connected to the desert and as long as it exists he can draw strength from it. Getting rid of the desert would weaken him. They're also mortal, though they have lifespans ten times that of a human.
  • Please, I Will Do Anything!: Set spares Horus's life at the beginning of the film after Hathor cries out. Thoth later outright tells Horus that her subsequent relationship with Set was the price she demanded for Horus' life.
  • Power Glows: Most prominently seen in Ra and his spear. Gods' body parts also glow after being removed.
  • The Power of the Sun: Ra, naturally. Bek has to stand in Horus's shadow to avoid getting burned while in Ra's presence, and has to hide below deck when Ra unleashes his true power lest he be incinerated. When Ra powers up, he grows twice his normal size and his body is surrounded by a fiery corona.
  • Psychic-Assisted Suicide: Hathor saves Bek and Horus from one of the fire-breathing giant snakes by charming it with her powers, seducing it into immolating itself.
  • Puny Earthling: Humans/Mortals are greatly looked down upon by the gods that they worship and are generally protected because of the worship and gifts that they grant. Horus in particular displays abusive and condescending behavior towards Bek for most of the story. Only Osiris seemed to be consistently respectful of humans and genuinely cared for their well-being for reasons beyond service.
  • Riddling Sphinx: One guards the heart of Set's pyramid, and the heroes recruit Thoth specifically to solve its riddle so they can get past it.
  • Salt the Earth: Osiris' first temple was a lush garden, until he was brought there and dismembered. His queen's tears salted the Earth before she took her own life.
  • Scales of Justice: Seen with Anubis.
  • Secret Test of Character: Ra set one up for each of his sons. Osiris passed his, but Set failed.
  • Sex for Services: Hathor offers Thoth a night with her if he'll agree to help with the Sphinx. He seems tempted, but Horus shoots that idea down and Bek goes with the Appeal to Flattery instead.
  • Sex Slave: What Hathor essentially is to Set after becoming his "queen".
  • Shown Their Work: Hathor talks about having a dark past. In Egyptian religion, Hathor was originally considered to be the alter ego of Sekhmet, Goddess of war and destruction. This changed over time and the two became separate deities. It is noteworthy that when Hathor uses her powers, her eyes become orange/yellow, which is the color of the eyes of a lioness, the animal associated with Sekhmet.
  • Snakes Are Sinister: Two of Set's assassins ride on giant, fire-breathing snakes.
  • Space Is an Ocean: Horus even gets some "water" from it while on Ra's great barge.
  • Super Mode: Horus and Set are able to manifest Instant Armor, while Ra grows double his normal size and is surrounded by a fiery corona.
  • Sword Beam: Ra's spear is capable of emitting an intense beam of flame, which he uses to drive off Apophis each night. Set uses it near the end as a beacon to lure Apophis to destroy Egypt.
  • Too Fast to Stop: Horus tricks one of the snake assassins into riding her snake off a cliff, after binding her to make sure she can't make the snake stop in time.
  • Top God: Ra the Sun God, Lord of Light and the most powerful of the gods by far.
  • Trap Is the Only Option: Set puts one of Horus' eyes in a treasure vault filled with deadly traps. He knows that Horus' followers will try to steal it for their god and get themselves killed. And it works.
  • The Omniscient: Subverted, as Ra explicitly says he made sure even he is unaware how the fate of the world will play out.
  • The Usurper: Set killing Osiris and usurping the throne of Egypt sets the movie in motion. It is later revealed that Set is planning to usurp Ra himself as Top God.
  • Villains Want Mercy: Set points out that he spared Horus once. Horus doesn't return the favor.
    Set: I spared you once. I showed you mercy.
    Horus: I won't make that mistake.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: Many of Set's actions are to gain the approval of his father Ra who he sees as favoring his brother Osiris. This goes out the window when Set learns what Ra was planning for him.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Ra and Hathor call Horus out on misleading Bek for his own ends.
  • Winged Humanoid: Horus sports prominent wings as part of his armor when transformed. Nephthys can also sprout a pair of her own, which are part of her body. Set cuts her wings off and has them bolted to his armor, giving him flight.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Set was originally a loyal son, loving brother, and great warrior that Horus admired. A thousand years of being stuck in the harsh desert as the perceived unfavorite, denied a family, and to be told he was supposed to take over the lonely duty of fighting Apophis drove him to ultimately decide to destroy the world and remake it in his image.
  • You Have Failed Me: Set decapitates the captain of the Minotaur bull-like gods for underestimating the abilities of a one-eyed Horus.