Review: Wrath of the Titans

Good Lord, man. It’s not good when you have a endless amount of source material to pull from, the source material itself being brilliant in it’s own rite and exciting to match. Why is this not good, you ask? Because it seems to confuse the crap out of screenwriters who can’t think for themselves. Like a child who hasn’t earned their money and has it simply given to them, writers seem to pick from Greek mythology carelessly and lazily. Yes, Wrath of the Titans is better than the original (2010, anyway), but that’s not saying much, if anything. I don’t count it as a positive when you’re merely trying to be less bad than your boring predecessor, and barely even do that.

Perseus (Sam Worthington) is a few years older since we last saw him and a few years wiser. He has a son now and seems content away from the life of action and adventure he had before, as a fisherman once again. Elsewhere, the gods are becoming weaker and the immortal giants, the Titans, are the verge of breaking free from their prisons. Before Zeus is captured by his backstabbing son, Ares (Edgar Ramirez) along with Hades (Ralph Fiennes), he enlists Perseus once more for help. Perseus then begins his quest to travel to Mount Tartarus, to defeat the mighty Kronos, free his father, and save the world.

If that premise sounds familiar at all, it’s because by replacing some nouns, it’s the exact same story as the first one. Instead of Hades breaking out, Kronos wants to. Instead of fighting the Kraken on Pegasus, Perseus fights Kronos on Pegasus. Instead of a fight in the desert with scorpions, it’s running around in the woods with Cyclops’. You get the idea. Why the writers can’t come up with something new out of everything they have to choose from is beyond me, once again. And seeing as how the first is an hour and forty minutes and the Wrath is and hour and forty six minutes, I wouldn’t be surprised if the movies lined up if you played them side by side. But enough with comparisons (it’ll happen again before this review is over, I’m sure).

Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, and Danny Huston all return as the gods of Olympus, all nearly phoning in their performances. Yes, it does pain me to type a sentence like that. It’s not that any of them are particularly bad, but they feel rushed. Like the entire movie. It’s as though the filmmakers were bored by Clash and decided to speed it up to the point of just slamming into a telephone pole. Perseus goes here. Move on. Perseus talks to his son. Emotion. BORING, move on. Perseus HITS the monster with a sword, POW! Impressed yet? No? Well, what else could you want, Jeez? Scenes that should feel slower get to their “emotional hightpoint” within the first thirty seconds of the two meeting in a room together. Before you know it, all problems have been solved once addressed, and everybody moves on to the next scene. Michael Bay at least seems to know that’s how his movies work. I don’t know who I’m supposed to care about besides Perseus because we know he’s the main character and Zeus because, well…he’s Liam Neeson and that’s all I need really. Even if he does sounds like he’s reading his lines out of some “Inspirational Quotes” book found in the bargain bin at Books-A-Million.

The best moment to sum up the entire film was while in the Labrynth to reach Tartarus, Agenor (Toby Kebbel) becomes frustrated with the map they’re using in the maze. After requesting to give it a try, Perseus and Agenor start yelling at each other like two cats fighting over some tuna about what to do next. They then realize the way out is much closer than they think, and proceed. This all happens in about thirty seconds. God forbid they pace themselves, but it seems they don’t even need to. The faster they say things, the faster they do things, and the faster the villains are defeated and movie over.

I didn’t absolutely hate this movie. It was entertaining to a point. The best moments in the entire film, not surprisingly, are the effects and action. When Kronos is free, as shown in the trailer, it looks amazing. The perspective shots I love oh-so-much are used frequently and effectively, really giving us the scale of this enormous magma-beast. When Perseus and Ares duke it out, the fight is quick but brutal, and as also shown in the trailer, the German Suplex delivered was just an all around nice touch, considering how little you see a move like that in film and since it was the Greeks who created wrestling in the first place. The monsters are entertaining to watch and my only complaint with them is that I would’ve liked to have seen more of them. The people are boring. I want more monsters and gods (At full-power though, none of this “I’m dying…” garbage). Hades abilities also are not as prominent in a way that would’ve been interesting to see fully fleshed out. If you read the In Bruges overview just below, you know I’m a fan of Ralph Fiennes, but even if he weren’t playing Hades, the smokey tentacle/cape effect they use to showcase his creepiness is always a welcome trademark. If James Woods ain’t playing Hades, might as well be Amon Goeth.

Last but not least, I have to mention one more thing, especially if another sequel is intended: please, please, please stop with the puns. I just can’t take it anymore. The first one had the bad lines throughout but I expected better from this one honestly. Yet I was met with the same cheesy one liners action movies are such fans of. As a writer of four scripts and a novel thus far (they’re going to sell, I swear), I understand the urge to have a character add a quick line to encourage the viewer to read a little more into the thoughts of the character (Example: a huge monster walks in, but Bob makes a joke. See, cuz he’s cool and doesn’t care.), but enough is enough and these lines are just lame. After captured by a cyclops and hanging by his feet, Agenor keeps a smug smile. Perseus whips out a line akin to “Just hanging around?” to which Agenor replies with a smirk, “Thought I’d give’em an eyeful.” Just to keep the ten-year olds interested I guess. When Abbot & Costello meet The Cyclops comes out, I’ll accept dialogue like this, but in a supposedly serious action/epic, I want more.

By the way, Hollywood, that Abbot & Costello Meet The Cyclops idea is mine, so when you decide to give Abbot and Costello a “gritty reboot,” give me something to show for. At least a mention in the credits or something.

Stars: Sam Worthington, Rosamund Pike, Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Bill Nighy

Rated PG-13 for fantasy violence, 106 minutes, action/adventure

Plays like: Clash of the Titans (2010), Immortals (2011)

Grade: C-


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