Reviewed by: Daniel Thompson
Liam Neeson … Zeus
Sam Worthington … Perseus
Ralph Fiennes … Hades
Rosamund Pike … Andromeda
Bill Nighy … Hephaestus
Toby Kebbell … Agenor
Danny Huston … Poseidon
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Thunder Road Pictures
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|Distributor||Warner Bros. Pictures|
“Feel the wrath”
This is the 2nd in a trilogy. The 1st was “Clash of the Titans” (2010).
To say that the 2010 film “Clash of the Titans” was a disaster would be an understatement. With all the technological wizardry available to moviemakers these days, an update of the classic swords and sandals epic would seem to be a great idea. Unfortunately, poor scripting, bad acting, and terrible retro-fitted 3D effects led to one of the most disappointing films of the year. This was disheartening to many fans of the 1981 original, as well as young males looking for the next blockbuster action film. When a sequel was announced, even after poor box office results, no one was more shocked than me. Fortunately, while “Wrath of the Titans” is far from a great movie, it drastically improves in every aspect from its original.
At the beginning of this new mythological story, our hero Perseus is content living, not as a god like his father Zeus, but as a mere man like his mother once did. He is continuing to raise his ten year old son, after the death of his wife. Zeus, however, needs the help of his son. The power of the gods is weakening, due to lack of human devotion, and the captive leader of the Titans, Kronos, is gaining power. Zeus’s brother Hades, condemned to the underworld, makes a deal with Kronos to release him, in exchange for continued immortality. Hades enlists the help of Zeus” son Ares to betray his father and take him captive. With Zeus held captive and Kronos rising from the underworld, it’s up to Perseus to travel to the underworld, save his father, and subsequently save all of mankind from the wrath of the powerful Kronos.
While the plot sounds terribly convoluted, it is established within the first fifteen minutes of the movie, so the viewer can sit back and watch a very simple adventure. The story is actually far more compelling than the previous film, because it’s cohesive, even at its most ridiculous.
The good news for “Wrath of the Titans” is that, along with a better story, the effects have improved tremendously. The IMAX 3D experience of this film is one of the more engrossing, imaginative films I have ever seen in IMAX. There is more detail in the effects, and the final showdown with Kronos makes the scene with the Kraken from the first film look like animatronics.
Most of the acting in the film is better than the previous installment, which isn’t really setting the bar very high. Aside from Edgar Ramírez as Ares, the rest of the cast seems comfortable in their roles and does the best with what they are given. Sam Worthington as Perseus seems to have added some pathos to his acting repertoire, and Liam Neeson showcases plenty of gravitas as the mighty Zeus. Bill Nighy is a nice addition to the cast as Hephaestus, who helps Perseus on his journey. All of the actors are undone by the script, however, which seems to only use dialog as a plot device or for sound in the lull between action set pieces.
As far as content is concerned, “Wrath of the Titans” is on par with its predecessor. There is an abundance of mythological violence, most of which takes place in the dark, demonic underworld where Kronos and Hades reside. Obviously, this film does not coincide with a Christian worldview, as it deals purely in the realm of fictional Greek mythology. There is no foul language to speak of, and there is also no significant sexual content. Although completely drowned by noise, bad dialog, and 3D effects, there is a nice story of forgiveness in the film.
Very rarely can one say that a sequel is better than the original in every conceivable way. It’s even less likely to say that the very same sequel is far from a great film. Both of those rare statements can be made about “Wrath of the Titans.” If it’s mind-blowing special effects you want, the film is for you. On the other hand, if you prefer cinematic artistry, screenwriting, and top notch acting, you’re probably better off with just about any other movie at the local Cineplex.
Violence: Heavy to extreme / Profanity: Minor—“Hell” (2) / Sex/Nudity: Mild—brief male-female kiss; shirtless males; comment that Poseidon taught Hephaestus how to seduce a mermaid
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.