After sitting through ‘Clash of the Titans’ a couple of years back, in completely worthless 3D, I was pretty sure that it was the worst BIG movie I’d seen at the time. I mean there are worst movies than that one, but the dollar investment to entertainment value was pretty darned low. Then ‘The Last Airbender’ came around which unmercifully snatched that crown off of the head of ‘Clash of the Titans’. Imagine my surprise to hear they were making a sequel to ‘Clash of the Titans’. I know it made a bunch of money but I wasn’t the only person in the room that recognized it as a crap movie, so maybe Warner Brothers would’ve been better served investing that money into something else? But I’m not a big time movie executive, so what do I know? The good news is that ‘Wrath of the Titans’ is way better than ‘Clash of the Titans’. The bad news is that it’s still kind of a crap movie.
Years after Perseus (Sam Worthington) had slain the Kraken, he has put down his armor and his demigod status to live his life as a simple fisherman and raise his son Helios (John Bell). His wife died of some unknown affliction, which completely paves the way for Perseus to make a move on Andromeda (Rosamund Pike) somewhere down the line.
Then his father Zeus (Liam Neeson) appears to alert Perseus that the gods are dying, because people don’t pray to them anymore, and that there are repercussions to this. Something having to do with the rise of Kronos, the father of Zeus, Hades and Poseidon, and the End of the World. Perseus tells Zeus to get lost, since he hates his dad and all, and Zeus is sad.
Turns out Zeus wasn’t just talking out the side of his neck. Apparently the end of the gods is near and to save mankind, Zeus and Poseidon (Danny Huston) need the help of baby brother Hades (Ralph Fiennes) to stop the fallout from this event. Hades isn’t down with that. He doesn’t want to die, which is what the end of the gods would mean, so he’s working with another one of Zeus’ bastard children, Ares (Edgar Ramirez), to raise Kronos and retain his immortality. Ares hates Zeus too. Seems that descending to earth to rape earth women and then turning into a deadbeat dad isn’t working out too well for Zeus. Or Poseidon. Say what you want about Hades, but at least he doesn’t have any half-god bastard children running around.
Now Perseus has to jump back into the game. With the help of Andromeda the Queen of Greece and Poseidon’s sorry son Agenor (Tony Kebbell), it’s adventure time to Tartus, where Zeus is being held captive and Kronos is on the verge of being set free. And he’s pissed off. If you thought the Kraken was a problem, wait until you get a whiff of Kronos. With the future of the planet Earth in the balance, CGI pyrotechnics of the highest order shall ensue.
For the life of me I couldn’t figure out why ‘Clash of the Titans’ ended up being so lackluster, considering it had pretty much every ingredient you would need for a kick ass movie. Now we have ‘Wrath of the Titans’, this time handled by ‘Battle: Los Angeles’ director Jonathan Liebesman, and it’s really not that ‘Wrath’ is better than ‘Clash’ but it just seems to suck less.
It is brimming with more excitement than the movie it preceded as Liebesman and his team spent far less time in trying to setup exposition, figuring we’ll just pick that stuff up along the way, thrusting the audience into one spectacular CGI set piece after another. What in the world did we do before we learned that computers can do all these amazing things like create armies and Cyclops and fire monsters and flying horses? Ah… yes, they tried to work around these limitations by telling better stories and hiring actors with talent in mind first, and looks second. I guess. I can’t remember since it was so long ago. Regardless, in comparison to the first movie, the slant on action first seemed to be a better approach.
We do admire Sam Worthington and his acceptance of responsibility for the shortcomings of the first film, though it was far from all his fault, and we also appreciate his statement that he was going to do a much better job with Perseus this time around. We like Sam Worthington because he seems like a solid cat, but Perseus from Clash and Wrath were pretty much the same. They did give Zeus and Hades a whole lot more to do this time around, so any time you can put Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes in your movie a little more, your movie will be all the better for it, and Wrath does benefit from their increased presence. Poor Danny Huston though, he had little to do in the first movie and just a little more to do in this one before being rudely dispatched. Poseidon gets no love from Warner Brothers.
But while this was better almost from beginning to end, it was still strangely disconnected. I don’t know nearly enough about the craft of filmmaking to figure out why this happens, but apparently great special effects and attractive actors just aren’t enough to effectively draw an audience into your story. And despite the emphasis on action, there were still times when my mind wandered to what I what was eating later that day. This subject matter is rich, layered and spectacular but these movies are just the opposite of this for whatever reason. Watching Perseus and Pegasus fly into giant fire monster chromos, clutching the lightning rod of Zeus was cool to look at… but it was oddly inert in relation to the rest of the movie. And I guess Perseus and Andromeda had some sexual tension going on. Wasn’t feeling that either.
What can we tell you? Like the previous film, most of the ingredients are here for a kick ass movie, but the results were more or less the same. Just a little better.