Wrath of the Titans has better action set-pieces and uses special effects a little more judiciously than 2010’s campy Clash of the Titans. The film’s plot however, is still a hoot, and exists only to provide some catch-your-breath moments in the middle of all that wall-to-wall action. What this sequel is missing clearly is the cheesy sensibility of the earlier film that made it one of those so-bad-that-it’s-fun experiences.
This new film brings back conflicted demigod Perseus (Sam Worthington), who is living with his son as a simple fisherman. He gets sucked back into an old family feud when his father Zeus (Liam Neeson) is taken captive by his villainous brother Hades (Ralph Fiennes) and Perseus’ own half-brother Ares (Edgar Ramirez). Hades wants to steal Zeus’ powers and provide it to their dangerous father Kronos, an enormous lava monster that’s been buried in the underworld city of Tartarus.
The film’s most thrilling portions are Perseus’ battles with such assorted beasts as the two-headed Chimera, a trio of Cyclops, and a Minotaur. We’re also introduced to the lithe twin-bodied, four-armed warriors, the Makhai, that go to war against Perseus’ army in the film’s final scenes. But it’s the Kronos, an incredible giant formed out of burning rock that is this film’s answer to the deadly Kraken from Clash of the Titans. For sheer spectacle value alone, the appearance of the Kronos is the money-shot in this film.
Don’t even ask about the performances here… Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes bring a certain gravitas to their parts of sparring gods, but they’re taking the material a little too seriously, as if they’re performing Shakespeare. Sam Worthington, saddled with an unflattering haircut and a permanent scowl, is serviceable at best, but it’s Edgar Ramirez who makes an impression as the deliciously evil Ares.
Despite some stray humor in the dialogue, this film is a mostly dull affair. The action is engaging, but you’re never invested in the characters to care about what happens to them. I’m going with two out of five for Wrath of the Titans. It’s true – the strange beasts are more compelling than the gods and mortals in this film!