Jeremy explores many topics as he juggles his passion for writing with his career as a chemical analyst and campus manager.
Loosely based on Homer's ancient Greek epic poem The Illiad, the 2004 film Troy chronicles the events of the Trojan war. We encounter love, tragedy, and many spectacular fights as we witness the horrors of war and the effect it has on combatants on each side.
After the infamous Helen of Troy runs away with Trojan prince, Paris, to, well, Troy, her jealous former husband Menelaus and his power-hungry brother Agamemnon pursue her, sparking a bloody conflict. Meanwhile, Greek hero, Achilles, struggles with the choice of glory or life, and Trojan prince Hector tries to remedy the situation his brother created. But with many powerful Trojan and Greek champions duking it out along the way, which heroes reign supreme? These are the five strongest warriors in Troy! Spoilers ahead.
Played by: Garrett Hedlund
Unlike his cousin Achilles, Patroclus wants the Myrmidons (Achilles' personal unit) to assist in the war simply to aid his Greek brethren. A loyal cousin and devoted soldier, Patroclus was one of the most likable characters in the film. His relative inexperience in battle is countered by his personal training through Achilles, and while he ends up perishing at Hector's hands, Patroclus managed to defeat several Trojan soldiers before his demise.
Patroclus's fall caused Achilles, who had decided to leave the war due to Greek king Agamemnon's greed, to rejoin the cause. While Patroclus wasn't skilled enough to conquer Hector, his abilities successfully convinced everyone present that he was indeed the famed Achilles (Patroclus had donned his armor to lead the Myrmidons into battle), and he lasted longer against Hector than most soldiers.
Played by: Nathan Jones
In the film's opening, Greek kings Agamemnon and Triopas decide to spare their soldiers' lives by deciding their conflict based upon whose soldier triumphs in a one-on-one match of their respective strongest warriors. Agamemnon chooses Achilles while Triopas selects Boagrius.
Although Boagrius ultimately loses the battle, this giant muscled man could undoubtedly vanquish a great many enemies. Also, he accurately throws two spears at a moving target a considerable distance away, showing his brawn is backed up by a healthy degree of skill, and the scars adorning his body prove he's survived a fair share of conflict.
Played by: Eric Bana
The entries today that will inevitably spark controversy are whether Hector or Ajax should rank second and third. Look for my rationale in the next entry, but regardless of his precise slot, noble Trojan prince Hector proves his combat skills several times over. He manages to beat Ajax and Patroclus, as well as give even Achilles a very close battle. He also defeated several fierce Myrmidons during the beach skirmish and was shown to be accurate with a spear throw even at a considerable range on horseback.
Hector's battle skills are matched by his wisdom; he accurately predicted that his brother Paris running away with Menelaus's wife would lead to tragedy, and he correctly suggested that the Trojans shouldn't attack the Greeks as it would cause Achilles to rejoin the war. Unfortunately, his comrades didn't listen to him, leading to Patroclus's death and the inevitable clash between Achilles and Hector.
Played by: Tyler Mane
Renowned as the second strongest Greek soldier, Ajax was well-respected even by the arrogant Achilles and was shown to have a deep devotion to his Greek allies. Still, why do I rank him higher than Hector if Hector managed to defeat him?
Well, consider the factors of the fight, which you can view above. Ajax had participated in the battle prior to facing Hector, undoubtedly tiring him, while Hector entered the duel completely fresh. Additionally, Hector began the skirmish with a horse, while Ajax did not, yet Ajax manages to twice disarm Hector. If Hector hadn't been lucky enough to find a fallen soldier's shield and spear exactly where Ajax knocked him down (convenient, eh?), Ajax would have conquered the fight despite the heap of disadvantages he suffered. As further evidence of the thin line between the two, The Illiad has them fight to a draw in a battle that lasts an entire day.
Played by: Brad Pitt
The cocky leader of the Myrmidons donning his imposing black and gold armor, Achilles initially participates in the Trojan War for glory, but after winning the love of the captured priestess Briseis, his outlook alters. However, Patroclus's death enrages him and motivates him to kill Hector, causing further complications because of Hector's status as Briseis's cousin. All's fair in love and war, but an eye for an eye may leave everyone blind.
Cliches aside, after an epic battle (view above) involving spears, swords, and shields, Achilles emerges victorious. Alongside his impressive storm of the Trojan beach, the defeat of Boagrius, and unrivaled spear-throwing distance, Achilles remains the undisputed strongest force in the Trojan War.
One of the most expensive movies ever made, Troy is also one of the highest-grossing, currently among the top 150 of all time. The film has its flaws, like a lengthy run time and a few stagnated moments, but I recommend it for anyone seeking a brutal old-fashioned war adventure that questions the morality of combat and even love.
With many powerful warriors clashing it out, Troy's action scenes has us hooked from start to finish, and despite its mixed reception, I suggest giving it a chance to prove its worth. An impressive music score, strong costume design, and star casting help cement it as an ancient war worth watching. It also helped spark the "Achilles from Troy vs Leonidas from 300 debate", but whether a Greek could conquer a Spartan is a topic for another day. For now, as we eagerly await future film endeavors chronicling ancient wars, vote for your favorite soldier and I'll see you at our next movie countdown!
© 2018 Jeremy Gill