The Mortal Kombat film introduces a new concept known as the Arcana. The Arcana is something that each champion needs to unlock from within to even stand a chance at victory in the Mortal Kombat tournament. But what is an Arcana?
Simply put, an Arcana is the inner power of an Earth Realm being. The Mortal Kombat dragon mark gives the human this power. This Arcana must be unleashed. Otherwise, the champion will be defeated in the tournament.
Though not all characters in the film have an Arcana, they have unparalleled superpowers that enhance their strength. Well, so who is the… Don’t worry; I know your question even before you’ve asked it. And I have got your answers!
Jax Briggs is an ex-special forces major who had done six tours while in the force. After he loses his arms to Sub-Zero, the monks at the Raiden temple attach a pair of metallic skeletal-like arms. His Arcana unlocks when he tries to save Sonya Blade.
His Arcana transforms the skeletal arms into these massive-looking robotic arms.
Kano, perhaps one of the very few amusing characters of the film, is a former mercenary who led the Black Dragon group. He meets the champions when captured by Sonya Blade. However, she can’t kill him since he has the dragon mark as well.
His Arcana unlocks when Kung Lao provokes him during dinner, and he has this rage fuelling inside him. His Arcana manifests in the form of a laser that he can shoot from his right eye.
Sonya Blade was also in the special forces along with Major Jackson Briggs, aka Jax. She has been along with Jax throughout their quest to find out about the dragon mark and what it
meant. However, she doesn’t have her dragon mark.
Sonya gets her dragon mark when she defeats and kills Kano, who betrays the champions and joins Shang Tsung.
Her Arcana is shooting pink energy rings from her hands. With this Arcana, she shoots Mileena in her stomach, leaving her with a gaping hole in her abdomen.
(I know that was quite gory and graphic! But isn’t that why we’re all Mortal Kombat fans? For the blood and gore.)
Cole Young, the newbie of the Mortal Kombat universe, is a former MMA fighter and also the descendant of Hanzo Hasashi from the Shirai Ryu clan.
When Goro attacks Cole’s family, the Outworld Shokan prince unlocks his Arcana.
His Arcana manifests in the form of golden armor, and he can materialize twin tonfa weapons from his arms at his own will.
Kung Lao is a descendant of the Great Kung Lao and a warrior who always knew his destiny was to fight in the Mortal Kombat tournament.
His Arcana hasn’t explicitly been called out in the film. He possesses the ability to teleport anywhere and manipulate his razor-sharp metal hat in different ways!
Liu Kang used to be an orphan who got his dragon marking by killing a human trafficker. Bo’ Rai Cho picked him from the streets, introduced him to the world of Shaolin monks, and trained him to be the warrior he is today.
His Arcana (one of the coolest ones) is to manipulate fire in multiple different ways. Over the years, through hardcore training, he can summon fire at his will, project fireballs, even transform it into a dragon. I mean, the list goes on!
Sub-Zero, aka Bi-han, is from the Lin Kuei clan who kills Hanzo Hasashi to end the Shirai Ryu clan and his bloodline.
We don’t know if it’s Arcana but summoning and manipulating ice is his superpower. He can summon snowfall, hailstorm and even control them. His versatility in combat is insane!
He can create an ice path so that his opponents lose balance, freeze them, and even materialize ice walls to bash them up against. But hold up, there’s more. He can also create ice clones of himself to deceive the opponents and escape!
Scorpion, who has been the showstopper of Mortal Kombat, though with significantly less screen time, makes quite an impression!
He is a ninja of the Shirai Ryu clan and is known to be one of the great warriors to walk the face of this planet. When Bi-Han, aka Sub-Zero, kills him, we see only his combat skills but no unique superpowers.
However, when he comes back from the Netherrealm, he says that he has learned to control the fires of the realm. His superpowers are on par with that of Sub-Zero’s, and when the two clashed again, we know who came out on top.
Scorpion’s agility is one of his biggest strengths. He can change his stance almost instantaneously and use weapons that best help the situation he is in. He uses the very popular Chained Kunai and a samurai’s sword.
These are mere powers of the mortals, and you bet there’s more! In essence, he is the counterpart of Sub-Zero. Fire to his ice. He can teleport and breathe hellfire!
Shang Tsung is the sorcerer of the Outworld who hasn’t been explored much in the film. He is known to lead the Outworld and is known to be deceptive and manipulative.
One of his most well-known superpowers is stealing the soul of other beings. We see him do that with Kung Lao until he’s left lifeless. Perhaps this is how he remains immortal.
He also sees shifting forms and abilities when he disguises himself as Raiden and banishes Cole Young back to his home and family.
Though nothing more has been seen, there’s immense potential for this character, and I am super psyched to see more of him in future films!
Lord Raiden is the strongest character in Mortal Kombat (2021). The thunder god, chosen by the elder gods to protect the Earth realm, can teleport across space and realms, manifest and manipulate lightning at his will, and might even be immortal!
Perhaps the most enigmatic character of the entire ensemble, his screen presence is powerful and sets the tone of how events unfold.
However, the film uncovers very little of this character and I’m excited to see what more powers and superpowers he displays in the future.
About Mortal Kombat (2021)
Mortal Kombat (2021) is an American martial arts action fantasy film directed by Simon McQuoid. It is based on the video game franchise of the same name and serves as a reboot.
Hunted by the fearsome warrior Sub-Zero, MMA fighter Cole Young finds sanctuary at the temple of Lord Raiden. Training with experienced fighters Liu Kang, Kung Lao, and the rogue mercenary Kano, Cole prepares to stand with Earth’s greatest champions to take on the enemies from Outworld in a high-stakes battle for the universe.
The film stars actors like Lewis Tan, Jessica McNamee, Josh Lawson, Tadanobu Asano, Mehcad Brooks, Ludi Lin, Chin Han, Joe Taslim, and Hiroyuki Sanada in various roles. It was released on HBO Max on April 23, 2021. A sequel is currently in development.