Wrath of the Titans isn’t a bad movie, per se, but as a sequel to the tolerable 2010 remake of cheesy ‘80s fantasy flick Clash of the Titans, it is an unnecessary one, playing out with all the creative indifference of a contractual obligation and feeling even more lightweight and forgettable than its predecessors.
Years after killing the Kraken, demigod Perseus (Sam Worthington) lives a peaceful life as a fisherman and father. He reluctantly returns to action when dad, aka Zeus (Liam Neeson), is captured by brother Hades (Ralph Fiennes) and another son, the god Ares (Edgar Ramirez), in a bid to free Kronos, father of Zeus, Hades and Poseidon (Danny Huston), from the underworld prison of Tartarus.
Screenwriters David Leslie Johnson and Dan Mazeau certainly earn points for doing their research and populating the story with actual characters and places from Greek mythology, and some of the special effects are truly spectacular, including Kronos himself, an amazingly colossal creature made out of molten rock, and a labyrinth that constantly reforms around Perseus and his party.
But those things don’t really appear until the finale, and most of what happens before then isn’t nearly as interesting. Compared to the original and the remake, this one’s plot feels incredibly slight. No gods debating the fate of mankind. Just some boring old family squabbling. And the creatures Perseus battles—Cyclopes, a Minotaur, a Chimera—can’t hold a candle to Medusa or giant scorpions.
As well the direction by Jonathan Liebesman (Battle: Los Angeles) is at best perfunctory. The action scenes lack excitement, and others, like Perseus’ flights on Pegasus, any sense of wonder. Worthington is slightly more energetic than usual, but still displays less personality than his hair, and is far outdone by the slumming Neeson, who dials down the scenery chewing and spends most of his screen time chained up.
Rosamund Pike makes for a nicely fierce Queen Andromeda, Ramirez is an adequately angry God of War, and Toby Kebbell is amusingly sketchy as Agenor, demigod son of Poseidon. But only Bill Nighy, as fallen god Hephaestus, seems to be having any real fun here, talking to himself, insulting Kebbell and living in a cave whose junky contents, in a neat nod to the original film, include a certain mechanical owl. – [DVD] [Blu-Ray]
DVD Release Date: 6/26/12