Review: WRATH OF THE TITANS

Rating: 2.5 (Out of 4 Stars)

            As someone who loves the 1981 CLASH OF THE TITANS movie and found the 2010 remake mediocre and unnecessary, I can’t say I felt excitement about this sequel.  In fact, I thought the whole idea even more unnecessary than the remake itself.  I will admit that the television spots promoting WRATH OF THE TITANS gave me the impression that this film might be better than its predecessor.  Still, I went into this movie screening feeling kind of flat about it.  After watching the film, what I suspected is true, or at least in my opinion it is.  This sequel actually is better than the first film with some enjoyable action, thrills, humor, and excellent CGI work; however, some of the same problems I had with the first film still remain–poor character and plot development. In addition, the leading man Sam Worthington couldn’t look any more bored with his role in this. 

            Set ten years after the events of the first film, demigod, Perseus (Worthington) having lost his wife Io, works as a fisherman to support and raise his son Helius (John Bell).  Content with his quiet and uneventful life, Perseus has no plans to reclaim his birthright.  His father Zeus (Liam Neeson) pays him an unexpected visit to warn him that the gods are losing their power due to humanity’s lack of prayer.  As the gods of Olympus weaken, Zeus’ father Kronos, imprisoned in the underworld conspires with Hades (Ralph Fiennes) and Aries (Edgar Ramirez), the god of war, to attack their captors in their moment of weakness.  Perseus reluctantly gets involved to rescue Zeus and stop Kronos before he unleashes hell on earth. He forms an alliance with Poseidon’s demigod son Agenor (Toby Kebbell) and Queen Andromeda (Rosamund Pike) to seek out Hephaestus (Bill Nighy), the god who has the ability to help them infiltrate the underworld.

             Written by Dan Mazeau, David Johnson, and Greg Berlanti, WRATH OF THE TITANS suffers from some of the same script issues as the first installment in that the characters are poorly developed, as is the story which plays out predictably with weak conflict and resolution.  On the more positive side, the writers do provide characters such as Agenor and Hephaestus with some amusing humor that kept me moderately entertained.  This time around, I really enjoyed the action scenes and the incredible visuals which kept me thrilled and invested.  Director Jonathan Liebesman shows some skill as an action/fantasy director.  He and his effects teams design and produce some impressive looking CGI laden actions sequences which I truly enjoyed.  The 3D effects this time do look better than the previous movie; however, I feel that the work done here still lacks the depth and clarity of other 3D productions.  Liebesman’s previous film BATTLE: LOS ANGELES had put his first put his name on my radar, as I actually was impressed with his work here.  Sadly, though, as with WRATH, BATTLE suffers from a problematic screenplay. 

              I found myself enjoying the performances of Neeson and Fiennes more this time around, but not feeling much admiration for Worthington who brought little to his performance of Perseus.  It is not so much that he is terrible.  He credibly plays the role of warrior/gladiator, but just looks plain bored when he isn’t fighting.  Granted, he has few genuinely dramatic scenes in the film, but as a father dedicated to protecting his son, I expected more depth and range.  I really enjoyed Gebbell and Nighy in their roles which provide some enjoyable and amusing humor.  Rosamund Pike is believable as a strong and earnest Queen, but the lack of character development gave her very little to do in the story.  Edgar Ramirez also shows much talent as the bitter and angry Aries.  If anyone in this movie shows range, it is he.

             That range is what I certainly found missing from several of the characters and the plot of this sequel.  The filmmakers kept the story and plot rather simplistic and fail to deliver a strong and dramatic conflict in the film.  When what should be a major turning point in the movie occurs, it plays out so flatly and lazily.  Perhaps that can sum up the problem with this motion picture—lazy writing.  Regardless of this issue, I still managed to have fun with the action, visuals, and with the comic relief.  I will not recommend WRATH OF THE TITANS for a full priced ticket, or even a 3D ticket.  I recommend a matinee or just waiting for the Blu-Ray, especially for the people with a superb HD television and sound system. 

 

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