Mortal review – an electrifying superhero origin story

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: July 27, 2020 (Last updated: December 28, 2023)
Mortal review – an electrifying superhero origin story


Mortal conjures up the magic of X-Men, Chronicle, and Brightburn for a Norse mythology origin idea.

Mortal comes from director Andre Ovredal who has bought us the wonderful Trollhunter, the underrated The Autopsy of Jane Doe, and highly enjoyable Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. It stars Nat Wolff from Fault in Our Stars, Priyanka Bose from Lion and Iben Akerlie from Vikingane.

Mortal follows a lone drifter, Eric (Wolff), as he travels around the beautiful landscapes of Norway until he gets interrupted by a group of youths, which leads to a clash, a threat from Eric about how being touched will lead to the person dying and that person not listening to the message. The small town sees him as a threat, where local sheriff Henrik calls in Christine (Akerlie), a psychologist, to help communicate with Eric, as the Sheriff knows that Eric is the lone survivor of a family fire who mysteriously disappeared after the incident years before. When Hathaway (Bose) arrives to take Eric back to America, everything gets escalated, as the powers come out to show just how much control other the environment Eric has, with Christine trying to help him understand these powers, control them and learn where they came from, walking down memory lane, being tracked by Hathaway along the way.

Mortal (Signature Entertainment, 3rd August 2020) [5]

Mortal brings us an origin-like story, akin to Chronicle or Brightburn, where we can see the struggles of understanding the powers while getting caught in the middle of using them for good, evil, or just becoming a government guinea pig. The difference between the three would be that Chronicle is completely original with its style of powers, Brightburn is a full-blown evil Superman origin story, while this doesn’t directly become a tale of Norse Gods, it plays into the mythology of the country. We do have a high usage of the chase elements, with the two looking for safety or answers, always trying to stay ahead of the pursuers, along with scenes of learning to control the power, which all lead up to the explosive conclusion of the film.

Nat Wolff does bring the reclusive character to life, making Eric look like the broken drifter trying to stay away from people; we see the pain he is going through from hurting people without control, too. Iben Akerlie does feel like the strongest performer in the film, with her character showing the complete kindness in her, despite having her own problems. We do however seem to waste Priyanka Bose’s abilities, by not giving enough of a story through the film, as it could have offered up another dimension.

Mortal does need some action to keep it strong; as the powers develop, the sequences become bigger — the bridge sequences look beautiful, with the destruction of the lightning and the terror of not knowing where safety could be discovered, from both Eric, Christine and the people hunting them down. Norway does also makes for one of the best settings for the film, with the truly breathtaking landscape almost becoming a character in the film itself.

Overall Mortal is an original idea that dives into the history of mythology in the modern world, it could easily be the start of something bigger, bolder, and is a bright spark for the future of the superhero genre. Well worth watching when it gets released on Digital on the 3rd August in the UK.

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