league of gods trailer

I’m not going to pretend to be an expert in Chinese literature, but I will be the guy who just watched the League of Gods trailer and knows what admirable insanity looks like. Because I spent about ten minutes Googling it, I can tell you that this movie is based on Fengshen Bang (otherwise known as Investiture of the Gods, Apotheosis of Heroes, and a variety of other titles), a 16th century Chinese novel written by Xu Zhonglin that combines aspects of actual Chinese history with mythology and fantasy to tell a story that sounds like a gigantic comic book crossover event. Except that it was, you know, written centuries before superheroes were a thing.

Anyway, let’s just watch this wacky trailer.

Since the trailer is all about throwing increasingly absurd visuals in your face and doesn’t feature any dialogue or plot details, here’s what the internet tells me: the story follows a king who is bewitched by one of his concubines, who is actually an evil spirit in disguise, prompting a massive war between the forces loyal to the throne and those who want to overthrow their newly tyrannical leader. Both sides recruit supernatural forces to their cause, with gods, monsters, demons, and super-powered humans joining the fray.

And yes, one of those warriors appears to be a multi-armed baby whose farts are powerful enough to throw a couple dozen robed fish-men into the air.

I’m not sure if the original text includes a gigantic killer crab, science fiction-esque hovercrafts, a guy riding a massive panther into battle, a goofy one-eyed plant monster, or shield-surfing assassins, but this movie sure as hell does. It also features heroes who can shoot electricity and fly and do just about everything you see in superhero movies. League of Gods may be based on text that is centuries old, but the film being sold in this trailer feels very much like China’s attempt to grab a slice of the superhero movie pie.

League of Gods is directed by Koan Hui and Vernie Yeung and the cast includes Jet Li, Tony Leung, Louis Koo, Huang Xiaoming, Angelababy, Fan Bingbing, Wen Zhang, and Jacky Heung.  Anyway, here’s how the official site describes the film:

A long time ago, a determined King Zhou, supported by his concubine Daji, sets his mind on conquering the Middle Kingdom. After years of slaughter, the unyielding Adept tribes have been eliminated in succession. Jiang and General Ji from Qishan are King Zhou’s longstanding opponents. Under a divinatory sign, Jiang discovers that the Sword of Light can reverse the adversity.

League of Gods is set to begin rolling out this month and if you want to see if it’s playing near you, I highly recommend checking out the list of theaters right over here.

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