[Review] – Wrath Of The Titans

15 Apr

Title: Wrath of the Titans
Year: 2012
Director: Jonathan Liebesman
Writers: Dan Mazeau and David Johnson, based on a story by Mr. Mazeau, Mr. Johnson and Greg Berlanti, based on the original 1981 screenplay by Beverley Cross
Starring: Sam Worthington, Rosamund Pike, Bill Nighy, Édgar Ramírez, Toby Kebbell, Danny Huston, Ralph Fiennes, Liam Neeson
MPAA Rating: PG-13, intense sequences of fantasy violence and action
Runtime: 99 min
IMDb Rating: 6.2
Rotten Tomatoes: 23%
Metacritic: 37

I remember watching Clash of the Titans in 2010 and not really liking it at all (I gave it a C-), thinking that while director Louis Leterrier certainly seemed to really like the original film he was remaking, he paid no mind whatsoever to any sort of storyline and just dedicated himself to crafting these huge action set pieces, not to mention that it was converted to 3D in post-production which is just a really shameless way to try to get more money. And money it got, bringing in over $490 million at the worldwide box office, which meant of course that a sequel to it was fast-tracked, which in turn resulted in us getting Wrath of the Titans, which, even though sees an improvement in the 3D department, is just as crappy in every other aspect.

Thankfully, Wrath of the Titans hasn’t been as huge a box office draw as its predecessor was, so maybe this will be the last time we’ll see Sam Worthington star as Perseus, the demi-god son of Zeus and a human mother. The one good thing I can say about this whole film, and the only thing that keeps me from stamping a failing grade on it, is the fact that you never once get the sense that it’s taking itself seriously at all; Édgar Ramírez, Ralph Fiennes and Liam Neeson are some of the actors that appear in this one, and they’re by all accounts pretty great actors, and they’re having fun collecting their big fat paychecks here and not pretending they’re in a good movie. Not an excuse for the horrible, stiff acting on display here, but maybe an explanation of sorts.

I’m not an action junkie, that much I admit, I’d much rather see a complex character drama with emotionally rich performances of great depth than a huge-budget flick with thousands of explosions that employ actors to just stand around looking tough and actresses to scream like crazy. Obviously great actions films exist, just last year we got examples of that with franchise films like Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol and Rise of the Planet of the Apes; but the fact is that most times we get stuff like Wrath of the Titans, films that pay so much attention to its huge special effects that the actors in it don’t have the opportunity to even try to act, and we get a really crappy storyline that’s all about getting from explosion #1 to explosion #2.

If you do want to know about the storyline, though, here you have it: about a decade has passed since the events of the first film, in which Perseus defeated the Kraken and is now trying to live a quiet life, taking care of his ten-year-old son Helius. But then there’s a problem, as the gods are losing their control over the titans as the strength of their power depends on the faith humans have in them, and the humans are not really into their gods nowadays. Add to that the fact that Hades and Ares switch sides to go against Zeus, and you realize why Perseus has to join the fight, in order to try and restore his father’s power, even though he doesn’t like him, so as to prevent Hades from ruling over them all.

This is all pretty crappy, by the way; this one doesn’t even have a catchphrase like “Release the Kraken!” going for it, and even though Sam Worthington really tries, and I actually think he’s a good, likable actor, this one never even comes close to working. What was worse to me is that, even if this one didn’t take itself seriously, and even if it was just a display of action set pieces, I thought it was just really lacking in ambition; yes, director Jonathan Liebesman (who last year gave us Battle: Los Angeles, which I gave a B- to), is all about big blow-outs, but none of them really gets people going, not even in the superficial, escapist kind of way these films do. I mean, yes, alright, that final climatic sequence I will admit is a nice sort of dumb eat-your-popcorn fun scene, but by then I just wanted this one to finish.

Wrath of the Titans is just as bad as its predecessor, if not a bit worse. And I guess a good number of people liked that first one so maybe this one will find a nice audience, too, but I thought it was pretty bad. The storyline is so implausible and incoherent, not even respecting the Greek myths its inspired by, and even though there are some pretty good actors here they are all given these horrible performances in which they are forced to shout some laughably bad dialogue at one another while they are terribly overshadowed by an overbearing amount of special effects. This is, hopefully, the last we’ve seen of the franchise, and Sam Worthington should focus on getting back to Pandora instead of staying here. But, hey, at least this one didn’t pretend to be anything even resembling good, and maybe this means Édgar Ramírez, Ralph Fiennes and Liam Neeson have collected big enough paychecks that they’ll be able to do the project they really care about.

Grade: C-

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