Sunday, 15 April 2012

Movie Review: Wrath of the Titans

Title: Wrath of the Titans
Director: Jonathan Liebesman
Year Released: 2012
Duration: 99 minutes
Classification: PG-13
Genre: Action/Adventure, Fantasy

Clash of the Titans (2010) was not a great movie. For reasons beyond my comprehension, it made a butt-load of money and was even successful enough to spawn a big-budgeted sequel. You'd think they'd use this good fortune to improve upon the flaws in the first movie, but no.

Clash, Wrath of the Titans is a 3D spectacle of chases, fights and explosions interspersed with cheesy dialogue and crude exposition. The plot is simpler than Clash and also more epic in scope – this time, it is not just Argos in danger, but all of mankind. After beating the Kraken in the last movie, Australian hero Perseus (Sam Worthington) retired from hero-dom to become a fisherman in a land of British-accented Greeks. Because no one cares about them any more, the gods are losing power and as a result creatures from the underworld are escaping into the mortal realm. Worse, Kronos, the imprisoned father of the gods, will escape to kill all humanity unless he is stopped in time. But who can stop him? Why, Perseus of course!

Now you may be scratching your head, trying to recall your Greek mythology, but there is no point. The only thing that resembles the traditional myths are the names of the characters and (more loosely) their relationships with each other. That is all. Our protagonists wander about from action scene to action scene, going wherever the totally made up plot dictates. One of the more memorable set pieces in the movie involves the labyrinth (a giant thing of moving rocks), which looked pretty cool in the trailer and also looks cool in the movie. However, in a turn of events typical of this film, there is no challenge or suspense. Sure, our heroes fall and scream as slabs of stone move to crush them, but in the end everyone just falls into the right place – quite literally in this case – and everything works out. Because of course it does.

The combination of workman-like pacing, silly dialogue and so-so acting produces in the viewer an indifference to the characters. They're just going through the motions and I did not care about them or what happened to them. I mean, I think the writers tried to include pathos with the father/son themes, but who cares? I couldn't even bring myself to be annoyed at how Zeus (Liam Neeson) was now suddenly good and noble despite being a jerk in the the first movie. Further, the romance was tacked on; Perseus' wife conveniently died between movies, making way for Queen Andromeda (Rosamund Pike). She accompanies Perseus on his quest so as to ensure a beautiful woman on-screen, but serves little other purpose. It's sad because there are decent actors in
Wrath of the Titans. If only they'd thought to invest in the writing.

Many of the scenes were staged in a way that it was hard to tell what was going on – too much smoke, too many things falling about, etc. Still, like the first movie, the sets, costumes and CG look pretty good and the 3D effects were alright. It is to
Clash of the Titans what successive and parallel Pokémon games are to each other Рthere are a few differences but it's essentially the same thing (...though I swear Perseus is even more Australian in Wrath, albeit just as bland).

To put in perspective the quality of this movie, consider
X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009). Wrath looks a great deal more impressive, but Wolverine is better plotted, has a more charismatic lead, and is overall more engaging. Like Wolverine though, Wrath of the Titans is somewhat entertaining and alright to sit through; it's something to watch to pass the time. It's the kind of movie where my main thoughts were “that looks pretty cool” and “oh hey it's that guy!”. Visual flair and big set pieces come to very little when your story and hero are dead on the inside. But hey, what do I know. Clash of the Titans made millions and Wrath of the Titans may well enjoy the same fate.

Alex's Rating: 2.5/5

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