Wrath of the Titans comes only 2 years after the 3D disappointment known as Clash of the Titans. Clash suffered from a slow story, little action and dreadful 3D. It didn’t work even on the basic level of being a cheesy B action film. Wrath however does. This time around the film is filled to the brim with action and it makes good use of the gimmicky 3D. Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes have the most fun, while Sam Worthington stumbles around for 2 hours, not sure of what to do with his half God/half human powers. Wrath’s story is just as ridiculous and full of holes as Clash, but it doesn’t try to be anything it’s not.
Wrath of the Titans follows Perseus (Sam Worthington) as he continues to live the life of a boring fisherman. He’s lost his wife, but gained a son, in which he teaches the ways of a fisherman. He doesn’t want to live the life of a God, despite his father, Zeus (Liam Neeson), checking up on him from time to time.
Humans have stopped praying to the Gods, which makes Zeus and his brothers weaker and weaker, while Hades (Ralph Fiennes) remains strong in the underworld. He’s thought up a plan to awaken his father and unleash Titans on the world. In attempt to stop Hades, Zeus and his son Ares (Édgar Ramírez) go to the underworld with Poseidon (Danny Huston). There it is revealed that Ares is (no surprise) working with Hades. Hades and Ares capture Zeus and begin draining his powers to summon their father.
Meanwhile Perseus is still battling the idea of being half human and half God. He hasn’t fully accepted his place in the world and one thing he knows for sure is that he doesn’t want his son to live in a world of war. After several stretches of spoon-fed dialogue, Perseus realizes that he must rescue his father and construct a spear that is deadly enough to stop even the most powerful Titan.
Wrath of the Titans does something that most big studio sequels don’t; it learns from its predecessors mistakes. Aside from the worst 3D conversion known to cinema, Clash of the Titans was a mess because of its lack of action and its spotty story. Wrath almost instantly separates itself from Clash by constantly following action sequences with even more expensive looking action sequences. It also makes the 3D kind of work. It still very much uses the third dimension as a gimmick, with things randomly popping off the screen and several wide zoom in shots that explore the depth of a specific location.
But being slightly better than a disastrous film isn’t exactly a compliment. There’s still a lot of bad in Wrath, like Sam Worthington, the story and occasionally director Jonathan Liebesman.
Sam Worthington is no stranger to the action genre, having starred in Clash of the Titans and Avatar. There’s just something about him as an actor that makes every single character he plays come off as lifeless and dull. Not once does he bring any sort of dynamic or emotion to Perseus. He simply reads the lines off the script and runs around killing all sorts of creatures. You never find any reason to care for his character. What makes Perseus even more annoying is his constant doubt. Clash of the Titans dealt with his battle of remaining mortal or accepting his place among the Gods, so why do we have to sit through that little problem again?
He knows what happens if he completely ignores the Gods and he knows what he has to do to protect his friends and family, so why the need to continue to question everything? Worthington only makes the poorly written character worse by doing nothing but screaming and crying. He’s either screaming at a beast before miraculously killing it or crying because someone is attempting to harm his son or his father. There’s really no middle ground to develop the character.
The story is also inconsistent and full of holes, much like Clash. There’s at least 3 specific moments that make no sense when you factor in everything that happens before/after. Wrath isn’t as bad as Clash though, because it embraces the pure silliness of the story and makes it feel like a joke that you’re in on, more specifically when Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes come into play somewhere near the ending battle. At that moment you’re not upset at how dumb the actual story is, because you’re having too much fun laughing and clapping while Neeson (sporting an EPIC beard) uses his God powers to zap and disintegrate double-bodied Titans.
Jonathan Liebesman‘s obsession with filming everything like a frantic war movie also troubles the production at times. In his defense, Wrath of the Titans is a lot easier to digest and understand than his previous film, Battle: Los Angeles, but it still features a dozen scenes of Perseus running in between buildings and climbing on top of monsters, with the camera tightly hugging his back. I’m afraid most directors now a days think this technique helps convey the feeling of war, but it really only comes across as a lazy filming technique that is used to cover up lack of ability.
Liebesman does pull the camera back though, during the climax of the film and thank goodness, because what follows is money well spent in the special effects department. Wrath of the Titans is fun to look at, because there’s so much going on at once. You’ve got Perseus battling a giant Titan made of molten lava while Zeus and other Gods are taking on the Titan’s spawns, which look like something straight out of the God of War video game series.
If you’re totally fine with accepting Wrath of the Titans as nothing more than a cheesy B action film then I think you’re going to really enjoy it. The story takes a backseat, as does most of the dialogue and character development, but the action makes up for it. Sam Worthington doesn’t do anything for the character of Perseus, but Ralph Fiennes and Liam Neeson pick up the slack and have some fun as Zeus and Hades, while everyone else kind of blends into the film, not really leaving a memorable mark. There’s a story somewhere in Wrath of the Titans that tries to tell human tales of forgiveness and acceptance, but Liebesman isn’t concerned with that and instead of trying to act like he gives a shit, he lays on some heavy action and makes the film feel like a mindless 2 hour action spectacle that is entertaining and worthy of the IMAX surcharge.
Wrath of the Titans – 6.5/10