Wrath of the Titans – Review (2)


More like Gods with Daddy Issues

When the almighty Zeus comes down asking for assistance from Perseus, his half human-half god son, a flashback of Dr. Emmett Brown coming to Marty McFly for help to alter the future popped into my head. Only instead of Perseus trying to prevent his family from being “assholes,” he has to prevent the reemergence of Kronos, the Titan that fathered the likes of Zeus, Hades and Poseidon.

Now you may be thinking why is it called Wrath of the Titans if there’s only one Titan? As the sequel to 2010’s Clash of the Titans, which was a remake of the 1981 release, the filmmakers probably figured the audience wouldn’t notice the mistake if they inundated their senses with a superfluous amount of special effects and mythical beasts such as a Minotaur (sadly, not Seann William Scott in costume), the fire-spewing Chimera, and hip-conjoined Makhai (can you say double trouble?). It’s to a point where the effects overtake the characters in the film. So instead of trying to establish an emotional connection to Sam Worthington’s Aussie drawl as Perseus, we more or less are just sitting there waiting to grin or smirk at screen. Like when big, bad Kronos arrives and we see him as nothing more than a gigantic lava monster; you wonder how he ever made Liam Neeson (Zeus), Ralph Fiennes (Hades), and Danny Huston (Poseidon). Kronos, you got some splaining to do!

When we last saw Perseus he was defeating the Kraken. Now he’s a single dad raising a son in a small fishing community. But just when he thought his days of being a demigod and savior were over they pull him back in. Only the offer he can’t refuse doesn’t fully reveal itself until later when he sees Andromeda: Warrior Princess (Rosamund Pike) and Madonna’s “Open Your Heart” plays. Okay, so it may have not exactly happened that way, but it could have if the filmmakers had upped the campiness of it all.

Instead, they have Perseus and Andromeda trying to avoid detection and certain death by the cyclopes and their three eyes. Such calamity because humans are losing their faith in the gods. And with this lack of faith it saps the gods of their power. Call it the Santa Claus effect.

Wrath of the Titans is diabolical in its psychoanalysis when it comes to father-son issues and bonding. When it comes to being paternal to Perseus, well Zeus won’t win any Father of the Year honors. After all, Zeus raped his mom. Yet, here comes Zeus needing help from his bastard child to thwart impending doom. So Perseus and Andromeda (along with Poseidon’s demigod son Agenor – imaginary Kodak moment: Perseus to Agenor, “What up, cuz?”) must venture into Tartarus, a massive MC Escher labyrinth with grinding stones that move to prevent access. Realistically they shouldn’t be able to escape its bowels and yet they do. But films are always about bending the rules of plausibility – remember when Brendan Fraser outran the sunrise in The Mummy Returns?

Now back to the father-son issues. Perseus and Zeus may have never played catch or seen eye to eye, but Zeus’ passiveness in his life in turn makes Perseus want to be the best father he can be. The same can’t be said for Ares (Oscar Martinez), the God of War. He also doesn’t like his father, Zeus. So much so he would plot his demise alongside Volde…um…Hades. Then add Kronos into the mix and it becomes a multi-generational grudge match where Perseus has to take on his grandfather, who just happens to be very volcanic and combustible. Let’s just say it’s going to take more than a few ice cubes to destroy him.

Wrath does succeed on a visual level and director Jonathan Liebesman (Battle: Los Angeles) stages action sequences that doesn’t primarily rely on the herky-jerkyness of shaky cam. But aside from sword-wielding and fireball-avoiding action you also have to suffer through some bad dialogue and one-liners (Hades to Zeus: “You look 10,000 years younger”), and comic relief in the form of Toby Kebbell as Agenor and appearance from Bill Nighy.

This Clash of the Titans sequel may not make fathers and sons want to commiserating with one another – that’s what they do over ‘80s action movies – but if you are looking for a mediocre special-effects driven flick that moves fast (it’s 99 minutes with credits!), and does little to accentuate the major characters, well this might do in a pinch. Or you could damn the Gods and skip it entirely.

Director: Jonathan Liebesman
Notable Cast: Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Edgar Ramirez, Toby Kebbell, Rosamund Pike, Bill Nighy, Danny Huston, John Bell
Writer(s): Dan Mazeau & David Leslie Johnson

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