The world of fantasy in movies is often enriched by classical mythology. The most famous of these myths, when it comes to world cinema, is the Greek Gods, with names like Zeus, Hercules, Ares, Poseidon, and more heading the cast. Thanks to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, names like Thor, Loki and Odin are everyday names, while their Norse myth counterparts all stand toe-to-toe with the Greek Gods. Add in Gods existing in Egyptian mythology as well as Christianity and there is a pantheon of gods and deities that filmmakers can draw inspiration and stories from.
Often, the Gods in movies are used as guides or as characters to move the plots. At others, they take a strong role in all the action, whether it is major Gods taking part in battles and wars or demigods proving their worth on the battlefields. Regardless of their active roles in the films, these gods all share one important trait. They are extremely powerful, many times almighty, and very often unconquerable. With such a rich array of characters from the distinct classic mythologies and legends in film, here is a look at 15 of the most powerful gods in fantasy movie history.
15. ARES (WONDER WOMAN)
The version of Ares in Wonder Woman was a great twist on the classic character, at least until he armored up for the final battle. The entire hero’s journey for Diana was to find Ares and stop the World War that she knew he was responsible for. Throughout most of the movie, she assumed that the God of War was part of the Nazi party, specifically General Erich Ludendorff (a real-life Nazi general portrayed in the film by Danny Huston). However, while he was evil and plotted the deaths of millions, he was not Ares.
Instead, Ares was hidden well, as Sir Patrick Morgan, a man in the British government who was a proponent of peace. While Morgan was seeking an armistice for peace outwardly, his ulterior motives were total destruction, his belief being that humans were inherently evil and needed to be vanquished. Ares was, in Wonder Woman, a bureaucrat who told the people one thing but whose goals were a very different matter. He was a modern-day politician, the most powerful of all evil beings.
14. POSEIDON (IMMORTALS)
Kellen Lutz is no stranger to playing mythological beings. He was a vampire in the Twilight movie series and played the lead role in both Tarzan and The Legend of Hercules, but his most powerful role as a fantasy God came when he portrayed Poseidon, the God of the Sea, the brother of Zeus and one of the 12 Olympians in Greek mythology. The movie was Immortals, and while it was not received positively, Poseidon was one of the most powerful of the Gods battling to stop the arrival of the Titans.
While Zeus is the King of the Gods, he is also the younger brother of Poseidon, and Immortals proves that the God of the Sea is not scared of his brother. Despite Zeus declaring death to any immortals who influence the fate of humans, Poseidon sends a great wave to kill Hyperion’s men to save Theseus. Throughout the entire movie, Poseidon proves to be one of the most powerful Greek Gods in existence, but his death later in the movie prevents him from ranking any higher on this list.
13. HORUS (GODS OF EGYPT)
Horus is one of the greatest of the Egyptian Gods, the Lord of the Air. He is the son of Osiris, the favored son of the Sun God Ra, and Isis, possibly the most powerful Goddess of Egyptian mythology. In ancient mythology, Horus is one of the most significant of the Gods and the heir to the throne of Egypt. The story is familiar, as his father’s brother Set murders the king and tries to take over the role as ruler of Egypt, a story retold in other myths and parables.
Horus is the God of the Sky and was often seen with the head of a falcon. In the movie Gods of Egypt, Horus is able to transform into an armored beast, which for him was a silver and gold falcon. He can fly, has superhuman strength and durability, is a master warrior and has divine sight. He is not just a mythological God but basically an ancient era superhero, as he battles his uncle after the treachery that led to the death of his father.
12. ASLAN (THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE)
In The Chronicles of Narnia, Aslan the lion represents God in this world, the creator of all in Narnia and the one being that represents all that is good in that world. However, there is also a power that Aslan possesses that is quite deadly. As one character remarks, he is wild and not like a “tame lion.” He is a pure and good character but is unbeatable in battle and is a dangerous enemy to anyone that crosses his path.
Aslan is also a powerful leader, one who protects and aids Narnia while also understanding when he needs to stand aside and allow them to deal with their own problems. At the end of the day, there is no one above Aslan when it comes to strength and power as he is – in the books – able to destroy everything and pass judgment on everyone. In the movies, Aslan is just as powerful but his true might is only touched on in the film series, keeping him a step below on this list of the most powerful movie gods.
11. HERCULES (HERCULES)
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson portrayed Hercules in the 2014 movie about the legendary demigod, and that should be enough to solidify his status on this list. Of course, this isn’t the only appearance of Hercules in the movies, as he also appeared that same year in a film called The Legend of Hercules, in a 1997 Disney animated film, and in a cult-classic TV series starring Kevin Sorbo. For this instance, it is the version with The Rock that we focus on.
Hercules was based on the comic book series by Steve Moore titled Hercules: The Thracian Wars and had the Greek demigod working as a mercenary at the start. However, throughout the movie, he proves his worth by not only becoming a legendary hero but also by proving to be a capable leader as well, something lacking in other re-tellings of the story of the muscular warrior. Hercules in this movie is less God-like and more human, making him appear stronger as a result. Plus, it’s The Rock.
10. GOD (MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL)
God has appeared in a number of movies and TV shows over the years. From Morgan Freeman in Bruce Almighty and George Burns in Oh God to Alanis Morissette in Dogma, there have been a large number of ways that film has displayed the Christian deity. However, while all versions of God in movies have been extremely powerful, the one that really stands above all others is the animated God from the medieval fantasy film Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
Python member Graham Chapman voiced this cantankerous and droll version of God, as he sends King Arthur in pursuit of the Holy Grail. This God is demanding and has a low tolerance for weakness, as he tells Arthur that he hates groveling and people always saying they are sorry all the time. He also admits to hating the Psalms because they are so depressing. There is no messing around with this movie God.
9. THE SUPREME BEING (TIME BANDITS)
After making his directorial debut with Monty Python and the Holy Grail along with Terry Jones, Terry Gilliam became one of the best directors to come out of the stable of funnymen. What set Gilliam apart was that his movies were both highly entertaining as well as artistic endeavors that remain cult classics decades later. Gilliam directed his first solo movie with Jabberwocky and followed it up with the beloved fantasy film Time Bandits in 1981. Much like Holy Grail, Gilliam brought God into the story, this time as The Supreme Being.
Unlike the floating face in the sky, the Supreme Being is an older more distinguished man who controls much of the devastation in the story, including the manifestation of Evil itself. When Kevin asks why people had to die just for the Supreme Being to test his creation, he simply answers that it was like asking why there is Evil: “I think its something to do with free will.”
8. HADES (PERCY JACKSON AND THE OLYMPIANS)
There are many powerful Gods in the world of Percy Jackson, although the story keeps many of those Gods in the background with the young demigods taking front and center in terms of action. As for the movie Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, there is only one God that really plays a major role in the movie, and that God is Hades. In the movie, it is Steve Coogan who portrays the role of the man who wants Zeus’ lightning bolt.
This movie God is very powerful and cunning and has a plan in store to get Zeus’ great weapon and start a major war between the Greek Gods, which will prove beneficial to him in the long-run. Interestingly, it wasn’t so much Hades that was the powerful God in the books, but Ares, whose story was ignored in the movie adaptation. While that was disappointing for fans of the Rick Riordan novels, Coogan brought a coolness to the role of Hades that helped him stand out in the film.
7. ACHILLES (TROY)
Brad Pitt looked like he was born to play a God when he took on the role of Achilles in the film Troy. While this version of the Trojan war was based on Homer’s Iliad, it wasn’t technically a movie about the Gods and instead remained grounded in the war itself and the warriors fighting the battles. However, while director Wolfgang Petersen chose not to pay as much attention to mythology, this remains a film based on legend and the actions and battles of Achilles, who in Greek myth was the son of an immortal and a human.
In some fun trivia, legend has it that Achilles was invulnerable with the exception of his heel due to an accident as an infant. That resulted in the naming of the Achilles heel, which is considered a point-of-weakness. In Troy, there was little that was weak about Achilles, who was a masterful warrior and tore through all his enemies until the end when he was murdered by Paris, causing him to rank slightly lower than many other demigods.
6. FAUN (PAN’S LABYRINTH)
Pan is a Greek God of the wild, as well as a companion of the nymphs. His counterpart in Roman myths is Fauna, the nature god. In 2006, Guillermo Del Toro directed his masterpiece, a Spanish-language movie called Pan’s Labyrinth, a film that might stand the test of time as the greatest fairy tale movie ever created. The story was set during the Spanish Civil War and focused on a young girl who suffered through both the horrors of the war as well as the horrors she finds when she enters a fantasy world.
It is in this fantasy world that Ofelia meets the mysterious character of Faun, which guides her into the land of her dreams. It is here that Faun offers her immortality if she completes three tasks, as he believes her to be the reincarnation of the Princess Moanna. Faun leads this young girl on a dangerous and deadly game, one where he holds her life and death in his grasp at all times.
5. PERSEUS (CLASH OF THE TITANS)
There have been two versions of the fantasy movie Clash of the Titans, one a big budget blockbuster that came out in 2010 and one that is a cult classic with memorable practical effects created back in 1981. The lead of both movies is the demigod Perseus, whose father is none other than the King of all Gods, Zeus. While Hercules is considered the more powerful son of Zeus, Perseus has accomplished enough to warrant consideration as well.
Perseus has killed Medusa, the Gorgon with snakes for hair and a gaze that turns mortals into stone. He was able to rescue Andromeda, the beautiful daughter of the king and queen of Joppa from the sea serpent Kraken. The story changes somewhat in the 2010 version, but in this version, Perseus is even stronger, battling the Kraken and Hades, Medusa, a Minotaur, and Kronos, coming out victorious against them all.
4. HEIMDALL (THOR)
Originally, Thor was considered for this spot. However, when looking at the roles of the Norse Gods in the Marvel Universe, the one that truly deserves a spot on this list of the most powerful Gods in movies is Heimdall, the guardian of the Bifrost. Odin himself knew how strong that Heimdall was when he put him in charge of protecting the gate leading to Asgard and Thor: Ragnarok showed how strong he was when he was one of the only Asgardian Gods to survive the attack of Hela.
However, it was a line in the first Thor movie that really shows how powerful Heimdall is. Loki is speaking to Heimdall and asks if Odin fears him. The guardian of the Rainbow Bridge says that he has no reason to fear because Odin is his King. As Thor: Ragnarok showed, Heimdall can see all and that makes him a formidable warrior, one that might stand above all others in Asgard — although likely a step below someone like Odin when the chips are down.
3. DEATH (THE SEVENTH SEAL)
The Bible tells of a time where the Angels were cast out of Heaven after a war. That is when Lucifer took up his throne in Hell and the battle for men’s souls began. In the Ingmar Bergman movie The Seventh Seal, the Swedish director created a perfect character to represent Death itself, the being sent to send mortals to the afterlife — whether it was Heaven or Hell.
The Seventh Seal took place during the time of the Crusades and told the tale of a knight named Antonius Block (played by Max von Sydow) and his squire as they returned home to find their homeland of Sweden ravaged by the plague. That is when Death visits the knight, planning to take him to the afterlife. The knight then challenges Death to a game of chess for his life. Death accepts and the knight prolongs the game — although his fate is sealed — until he can reach home to say goodbye to his wife. This deity was spoofed wonderfully in Bill & Ted’ Bogus Journey.
2. ZEUS (CLASH OF THE TITANS)
When it comes to the most powerful Gods in mythology, the Kings of Norse and Greek mythology stand at the head of the table. When it comes to the Greek leader, arguably the most powerful version of this god in movies is Zeus from Clash of the Titans. When it comes to the original 1981 film, Zeus is a character that aids Perseus along the way, giving him tools and assistance as needed to help him to complete his quests.
In the 2010 version, Liam Neeson took on the role of Zeus, which meant a larger and more butt-kicking role in the story. In this version, Zeus actively sets out to punish mortals for their defiance against the Gods, sending Hades to do his dirty work. Zeus actually takes a more active role in these battles. While Zeus dies in Warth of the Titans, he has so many other appearances in movies through the years, he retains his place as one of the most powerful gods in all of cinema.
1. ODIN (THOR)
The Greek counterpart of Zeus when it comes to Norse mythology is Odin, the All-Father and the ruler of Asgard. Of course, this is also the most popular god in movies for most modern-day filmgoers thanks to the Anthony Hopkins portrayal in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. While Odin was always seen as a powerful being, he was somewhat held down by his portrayal in Thor, where he slipped into his deep sleep when his people needed him.
It also doesn’t help that Loki tricked him and banished him to a retirement home on Earth. However, as Thor: Ragnarok showed, Odin was a deadly adversary, as he teamed with his daughter Hela to conquer the Nine Realms and deliver all the riches to Asgard. When he chose to turn good, he then banished his powerful daughter as well and was vengeful enough to banish Thor at one time and hold down Loki as well for many years. Unlike other Gods, Odin also went out on his own terms, solidifying his place as the most powerful of all movie gods.
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