To be or not to be a remake of Hamlet: that is the question. The answer is that Robert Eggers’s new period epic The Northman is based on the same 12th century legend  

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Sulking in exile after the murder of his father by an unscrupulous uncle, a Scandanavian prince plots his return and revenge. There will be blood.

All the way back in 1993, Last Action Hero spoofed the idea of Hamlet as blockbuster spectacle—a classic recontextualized in the vulgar language of Hollywood.  

That was satire; Eggers’s broad, muscular slab of Vikingsploitation earnestly gives it a shot. There’s a bit of Arnold Schwarzenegger here,  

Instead of a guy monologuing mournfully to a skull in a graveyard, we get crucial dialogue delivered by a severed head. Alas, poor Willem Dafoe—we knew him well. 

Dafoe’s decapitated cameo provides The Northman with one of its undeniable highlights. His presence also creates a point of connection to Eggers’s last outing 

The Lighthouse, which dealt with big themes of isolation, masculinity, and madness in the guise of a slow-burning, phantasmagorical maritime legend  

Symbiotic relationship between good and evil the 38 year old director continues to weave and stretch the fabric of genre cinema around his ideas like a pro.