REVIEW: 'Wrath of the Titans'
Do you know what kind of movie I would have preferred to Wrath of the Titans? One that tells the story of the frustrated actors who have to run around a greenscreen set, imagining fireballs and monsters flying past, as they try to shoot a movie. Why? For all the impact the CGI has in Wrath, we might as well be watching a movie without it.
That’s not all we’re subjected to in Wrath of the Titans, sequel to 2010’s Clash of the Titans. We’re bombarded by a godlike fury of pointless imagery, vapid dialogue and incomprehensible action. Whereas Clash was playful with its interpretation of Greek myth, Wrath treats its source material like the helpless soldiers smashed under Kronos’ fist. The first film might have been an entertaining trifle, but this sequel is so lazily made that it’s not worth the time of even the most forgiving viewer.
Wrath of the Titans reunites us with Perseus (Sam Worthington), the demigod son of Zeus (Liam Neeson), who killed the Kraken in the last movie and wants no more of that “gods and monsters” stuff. He’d be content to live as a fisherman and raise his son. Problem is, Zeus tells Perseus that the Olympians are weakened by humans’ lack of faith, and they can't keep Zeus’ father Kronos imprisoned in Tartarus alongside his army of hellish beasties.
Perseus ignores him, because apparently the whole “you’re the only one who can save us” trick only works once. Of course, this leads to Zeus being captured and a plot to release Kronos set into motion. Perseus finally decides to put the universe before himself and goes off with Queen Andromeda (Rosamund Pike) and his cousin Agenor (Toby Kebbell) to find a way to stop Kronos.
All of this is done in a tremendously overwrought style, meant to convey some sort of grandeur. Instead, no scene has any real emotional clout or even technical brilliance. The special effects don’t dazzle – they bore. You can only look at shots of mountains exploding and smoke billowing so many times before you start to zone out. What’s worse is when we do catch glimpses of flesh and blood actors, they have nothing of value to say or do.
Sam Worthington disappears into the role of Perseus, only not in a good way. We’re supposed to believe that Perseus is a worried father who feels inadequate as a demigod. Rather than letting this power his action scenes, Worthington just coasts through his character “development” bits, so we can skip to the running and the yelling and the stabbing.
Movies based on Greek myth have a long history of butchering the stories they’re based on. Because of this, I thought about not judging the movie on its adherence to the myths. But Wrath of the Titans seems hell-bent on contradicting every detail of its source material, to the point of openly insulting it. I could make a list, but like a benevolent deity, I'll spare you.
The whole ordeal is accompanied by some major flaws in logic. In the climactic scene where Kronos does break free of his prison, the humans put up a couple of hundred soldiers to “hold him off” while Perseus does his hero thing. We’re talking about a hulking lava monster the size of a mountain. Even if they had a chance, you’d think more of humanity would show up for the end of the world. Y’know, just in case someone reveals what Kronos was planning to do when he gets free (which is never mentioned).
There’s but one entertaining sequence in Wrath. It comes when Hades (Ralph Fiennes) and Zeus decide to enter the fight. They move across the battlefield tossing enemies left and right, a tribute to their days as “young gods”. After about an hour and forty-five minutes of boredom, this sequence finally caught my attention.
More scenes like this might have made the numbing sound and fury in this movie worthwhile. Unfortunately, I have a feeling my wish for a fulfilling screen treatment of Greek myth might go unanswered by the gods of Hollywood. Wrath of the Titans gets one star out of four.
Note: I saw Wrath of the Titans in 3D, and the overpowering CGI made the 3D nearly invisible. See the movie in 2D if you can!
What did you think of Wrath of the Titans? Was it just mindless entertainment, or an insult to the mythology we’ve been sharing for thousands of years? Do you think the series will get a third installment? Join the conversation in the comments! If you liked this review, consider following me on Twitter for post updates and other musings. You can also browse through my recent reviews here:
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