As this is Aragorn week (like every week in our hearts, of course) I thought we'd stay in Middle-earth a wee while longer. We have become used, over the years, to reading stunning reviews of Viggo's performances. Critics get very excited when a new film with Viggo comes out. But when Fellowship of the Ring premiered, he had been mostly under-the-radar for some time. Then suddenly his performance as Aragorn burst onto the screens like a supernova and the critics saw the light. So, here is a round-up of his reviews across the whole Trilogy. Yup - Return of the King indeed.
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Fellowship of the Ring
Mortensen, in the film's best performance, brings heroic stature to Aragorn, befitting a man descended from kings. Aragorn's conflict with Boromir, given haunting complexity by Bean, strikes at the essence of brotherhood and roots the film in emotion. It's emotion that makes Fellowship stick hard in the memory.
Jan. 17, 2002
-Billy Boyd and Sean Astin nearly steal the picture as the accident prone comic relief. Nearly, but not quite. That is left to Viggo Mortensen as mysterious warrior Aragorn. Brooding, intense, and handy with a blade, Mortensen is the film's greatest strength - Han Solo to Wood's Luke Skywalker.
11 December 2001
Viggo Mortensen, I predict, will become a heart-throb after his romantic and brooding turn as heroic warrior Aragorn.
The Express on Sunday
December 16, 2001
Viggo Mortensen stuns as the tormented, destiny-shucking warrior Aragorn, exuding a bravery that will make men admire him and an intensity that will make women want to hop into his leather jerkin. (Let's just hope he doesn't inspire a resurgence in Renaissance Faire fashion.)
The real champ of the film, even over Sir Ian... is Viggo Mortensen
Picture Han Solo without the wisecracks mixed with and Indian scout mixed with Sir Lancelot stirred together with the leadership and loyalty of a leader we all wish we had. In the dictionary under the term "Star making performance" there should be a photo of Viggo as Aragorn. The only thing keeping him from becoming the next HUGE leading man is if he decides he doesn't want to be. Women will love him and men will too. To top it off, he has a terrific (but brief) scene of incredible romance.
The Two Towers
As Aragorn, Viggo Mortensen's weathered face brings his character an intensity and life that the book's extensive backgrounding never did; his threadbare regality is more eloquent than any exposition.
December 20-26 2002
Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn carries himself with the perfect air of strength, compassion, and quiet nobility that you expect from someone who you would be willing to follow into battle.
22 December 2002
Towers belongs to Mortensen, an actor of considerable range who makes Aragorn's moral and romantic dilemmas seems amazingly plausible and immediate.
Louise B. Hobson
December 18th, 2002
Mortensen as much mobilizes this cast of thousands externally as he does within the narrative, and plays the true-hearted hero with enough gravity to make Aragon believable without slipping into parody Prince Valiant clichés.
18 December 2002
It's crucial that the film, like the journeys it narrates, is straggly. I spent the duller sections thinking about how flaxen-haired Legolas looks like a Milky Bar hippy as he pings his egg-slicer-strong arrows at the barbarous monsters. I also drifted off looking at Viggo Mortensen: has a more virile, dynamic actor ever appeared on the silver screen?
The Daily Telegraph
December 18, 2002
Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn easily dons the mantle of epic hero that used to be worn by Charlton Heston, and he's a lot sexier.
The Daily Mail
December 20, 2002
Viggo Mortensen finds an astonishing stillness and poise at the heart of Aragorn.
The Independent on Sunday
December 15, 2002
Return of the King
Aragorn has the slinky swagger and dreamy stubble that make him look like a legend created by Tolkien, Sam Shepard and Ralph Lauren. Fortunately Mr. Mortensen also has a touch of modesty as an actor, which allows him to take up space as if he belongs in the center of the frame rather than battling the other performers for it.
The New York Times
Triumph Tinged With Regret in Middle Earth
December 16, 2003
This is Return of the King though, and Viggo is that king
Viggo is noble, Viggo is powerful, Viggo is resplendent. He's a young Sean Connery but with a grittier style. More than anyone else, this is Aragorn's film.
16 December 3003
The dashing Mortensen never lets his audience down
Subtly, Mortensen suggests that gradually Aragorn is growing into the stature of a king. The scene in which he walks into a cave filled with evil spirits, all of them transparent and angry, is dramatically and technically brilliant, a metaphor made real.
San Francisco Chronicle
December 16, 2003
As the capstone to one of the single greatest achievements of modern motion-picture history, The Return of the King is generally peerless - Viggo Mortensen's Aragorn, the King of the title, is inescapably Shakespearean in the meaty thrust and parry of his role...
The Austin Chronicle
19 December 2003
...Viggo Mortensen takes his final step towards stardom'
17 December 2003