For One Scene, The Northman Becomes The Best Video Game Movie Ever

This article contains spoilers for "The Northman."

Director Robert Eggers is known for his attention to historical detail. From "The Witch" relying on natural light and authentic dialects to "The Lighthouse" traumatizing its cast, his movies are a treasure trove of small touches that feel like they were warped onto the screen straight from the past. His third feature, "The Northman," accurately recreates the living hell that was Viking times.

From painfully cold shooting in the forest to nude fighting near volcanoes, Eggers gives us what may very well be the most accurate portrayal of Vikings in a film. At a time when so many Viking movies and shows are focusing on political scheming and big elaborate fights, "The Northman" gives us a gritty, brutal, and ugly film about how terrible Vikings were, and how life during this period was probably cold, brutal, and short.

Then there's that one scene where "The Nothman" straight-up becomes an RPG and gives us the best video game movie scene ever, despite the film not being based on a video game in any way, shape, or form.

Go to the creepy cave and get a magic sword

After spending years telling himself to avenge his father, save his mother, and kill his uncle Fjölnir, Viking-prince-turned-berserker Amleth embarks on a journey to Iceland to enact his plan of revenge once and for all. Once in Iceland, he poses as a slave and starts terrorizing his uncle's army, killing them off one-by-one.

But before he can truly take revenge on Fjölnir, he needs to level up a bit. After a brief visit to a He-Witch that talks to the disembodied head of a court jester (the severed head of Willem Dafoe, no less), the quest-giver tells Amleth that he needs a magical sword to defeat his uncle, which he must take from an ancient burial site.

That's right. In the middle of this epic tale of revenge, Amleth literally goes on a side quest to find some loot from a magic cave. After finding the remains of an ancient ship in the decrepit tomb, and the lone skeleton of a warrior sitting on a throne, Amleth tries to grab the sword ... and the skeleton seemingly comes to life and challenges our hero to a duel.

An epic boss fight with a finishing move

Despite the movie being as accurate to known historical detail as possible, this scene takes a turn toward the ludicrous and it is a blast. The mighty undead warrior (a Draugr like the undead foes in "Skyrim") basically acts like a boss in an RPG like "Elden Ring," taking his sweet time approaching the player before proceeding to utterly obliterate him with mighty swings of his sword that could kill any low-leveled character in an instant, forcing Amleth to instead roll for his life like he was a Tarnished in FromSoftware's latest game. Press the circle button, Amleth! The circle button!

Eggers and cinematographer Jarin Blaschke even frame the scene like a third-person POV game, closing in on Amleth and making the cave feel claustrophobic, with the towering skeleton covering most of the frame. The lighting adds to the mood too, dusty and pale in a way that feels ethereal and creepy. It looks just like location a boss would reside in, untouched by time, full of loot that you can somehow not touch, just waiting for the player to approach before the Big Bad activates.

The fight goes on for a couple of minutes until Amleth discovers the pleasure of the jump attack and realizes that the skeleton boss seems afraid of the moonlight, which makes him change strategies. He finds a new weapon in his inventory and proceeds to push the boss into the light, slowly eating away at his health bar until the moonlight paralyzes the skeleton and brings him to his knees. To make it even clearer that this is a video game, Amleth takes the magic sword, decapitates the boss, and literally shoves his head up his ass as a finishing move.

And as a reward for winning the fight, Amleth gets a shiny new sword. Literally. The hero enters a side quest cave, defeats a boss, and gets a better weapon. 

Sure, a later moment implies that this fight was entirely in Amleth's imagination (reality is fluid in "The Northman," and the supernatural and the mundane mingle regularly). So was this scene necessary? Probably not. And yet, "The Northman" takes the time to not only portray the intricacies of the Norse world, but to also briefly become a video game and give us an incredibly cool boss fight with a magic sword as a reward. Does Robert Eggers need to make a "Skyrim" or "Elden Ring" adaptation now? Absolutely.

"The Northman" is now in theaters.