Wrath of the Titans Review
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If you like seeing giant CGI monsters take on vaguely disinterested human actors, then you’ll be pleased to hear that 2010’s forgettable Clash Of The Titans rehash now has a sequel. The last movie made the fatal mistake of trying to play camp straight, taking a ludicrous 1981 fantasy epic known for it’s classic stop motion effects and indeliberate hilarity and somehow turning into a lifeless, serious bore. Wrath Of The Titans merely offers more of the same.
Clearly rushed into production to capitalize on the success of the last movie before it vanished into obscurity (which it probably already has, so nice try guys), Wrath feels rushed and confused. Characters who weren’t particularly memorable on the last go around have their stories extended, more CGI creatures are unearthed, and a perfunctory story is played out in glorious, headache-inducing post-conversion 3D. Yep, all the standard cranked out sequel problems arise, but they were all issues with the original as well. The movie is about as mediocre and dull as the Clash Of The Titans, so I suppose if you enjoyed that, you might get a kick out of this. How many legitimate fans of that movie actually exist is a legitimate question though, so even in matching those low standards, chances are not many people will bother to make a trip to the theater.
In the years between the Titans flicks, Sam Worthington’s Perseus has raised a young child and vowed to live a normal life completely free of giant monster battles. Unfortunately for Perseus, the gods of bad sequels did not agree with his violence-free plans and a new giant monster mash is unleashed. That jerk Hades (Ralph Fiennes, thankfully not doing as much rasping this time) made a deal in the underworld to kidnap Zeus (Liam Neeson) and filter his powers into their dormant father Kronos with plans of world domination. Only Perseus can achieve victory by combining several super-powered weapons into a single super-powered weapon and so he’s set off on that video game quest with a beautiful queen love interest (the gorgeous Rosamund Pike) and a rugged comic relief demigod (Toby Kebbel doing a bad Russell Brand impression) at his side. Along the way they’ll have to meet up with a wacky god played by Bill Nighy and fight an angry bad ass Ares (Edgar Ramirez). Why you ask? Well, mainly because the movie needed to be at least 90 minutes long, so there had to be some diversions.
Everyone involved in Wrath Of The Titans seems to simply be going through the motions and the audience is sure to share their experience. The plot is threadbare and really just an excuse to link together the fights. The comic relief is ghastly, except for Nighly’s delightfully eccentric performance, but he’s killed off before he can make much of an impact. Fiennes and Neeson’s names add a little class to the proceedings, but both actors are onscreen so little it’s clear that they only agreed to be involved for a week of production and barely register. Often their characters are shot from behind, so body doubles could take care of the action while they just cashed cheques for their close-ups. At one point their characters even join forces, yep Hades and Zues team up. It’s a moment that should make you shout out, “what the fuck” as an audience member, but by the time it happens you’ll be too bored by the proceedings to care.
Sam Worthington also continues his streak of the least compelling leading man roles in recent memory and god willing this movie will bomb and kill off his non-Avatar sequel career quickly. It’s getting tiresome to be force-fed that guy as a leading man by Hollywood. He’s not one. That would require at least an ounce of charisma. The flick was directed by Jonathan Liebesman, who just last year gave us the soul-crushingly awful alien invasion movie Battle Los Angeles. Now, there is one thing that I should give Liebesman credit for. In theory it should be impossible to make movies about aliens destroying cities and ancient greeks fighting massive monsters dull, but somehow he managed to do it. I guess that must take some sort of talent to pull off. Once again, Liebesman decides to shoot his big action scenes with handheld cameras so that you can never really see what’s happening and only know which character won any given fight by seeing who is left standing when the mess is over. It’s terrible action directing and with super-imposed 3D added, it’s also nauseating to watch. Thankfully Liebesman has also been put in charge of the upcoming Ninja Turtles reboot, so we can all look forward to him finding a way to dull-ify that franchise as well.
Now, I don’t want to make it sound like Wrath Of The Titans is a complete and utter disaster of a movie because it’s not (it’s at least better than Battle Los Angeles). For one thing, any movie that dedicates screen time to Rosamund Pike’s beautiful face has at least one thing going for it. More seriously, Wrath does pass by fairly swiftly with no artistic pretensions and action at regular intervals. It’s at least structured like a proper action movie and never gets bogged down with a needlessly convoluted narrative or useless character development. I’m sure the target audience of undemanding 12-year-old boys will feel like they got their money’s worth, but for anyone else the movie will just feel kind of dull and mediocre. Sure, this thing does what the poster promises. It’s just that people kind of like to be surprised at the movies and not just watch something that feels like a 90-minute trailer for the next chapter in an ongoing franchise. Let’s hope that Wrath Of The Titans does poorly enough to kill off this series, because the hundreds of people employed to put Sam Borington (ain’t I clever?) into the same frame with giant monsters should be using their talents to add giant monsters to something that’s actually worth watching.