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Wrath of the Titans (2012)

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Score: 4/10

Genre: Fantasy Running Time: 1 hr. 39 min.

Release Date: March 30th, 2012 MPAA Rating: PG-13

Director: Jonathan Liebesman Actors: Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Edgar Ramirez, Rosamund Pike, Lily James, Kathryn Carpenter, Toby Kebbell

I

n an attempt to outdo 2010’s “Clash of the Titans,” the sequel “Wrath of the Titans” introduces larger, more insidious foes for the noble warriors to battle. Yet the bigger the monsters get, the smaller the story becomes. “Wrath” presents an overly simplistic, straightforward plot that rarely utilizes its potential for awe, trading a few moments of impressive special effects for genuine adventure. The classic concept of fighting a minotaur in a maze is reduced to a brief scuffle in a pointlessly complex labyrinth (out of which the protagonists haphazardly stumble), the lazily crafted scenarios are predictable and tired, and the lifeless personas shift from location to location in a mundane waiting game for the next appearance by a giant monster. Sadly, a nagging indifference for the foreseeable conclusion even diminishes the colossal grandeur of the final gargantuan enemy.

Several years have passed since Perseus (Sam Worthington), the son of Zeus (Liam Neeson), defeated the Kraken and saved a kingdom. The revered demigod now lives the simple life of a fisherman while raising his young son Helius (John Bell) – without the help of Io (Gemma Arterton from the first film), who has too conveniently passed away. When Zeus returns to inform him of a new threat – the impending escape of the monstrous Kronos from his underworld prison of Tartarus – Perseus must once again fight to save the gods and humanity alike. Joining forces with Poseidon’s son Agenor (Toby Kebbell) and Queen Andromeda (Rosamund Pike), the intrepid soldiers must search for the mysterious Fallen One to uncover a weapon worthy of defeating the very father of the gods.

In “Wrath of the Titans,” the gods start to lose their power and dwindle away as humans forget to pray to them. This sounds a bit like some fairy tale or Santa Claus, not the mighty immortals of ancient mythology. It also mutates into something along the lines of “Star Wars,” with its polestar of familial betrayal followed by recapturing the good in rebellious relatives, and finally through joining forces to overcome evil. A derivative passageway jungle with shape-shifting qualities like the one seen in “Alien vs. Predator” (a most unfortunate film to copy) turns up, as well as Cyclopes from Sinbad and monstrosities from recent video games. When the creativity is at such a low, it hardly matters that the story seems improvised on the spot, with characters that appear and vanish without impacting the story, and an unshakeable emptiness to the scenery changes and unorganized quest.

The computer graphics are definitely more impressive this second time around, with a final monstrous antagonist that is as awe-inspiring as the plot is feeble; both are at noteworthy extremes. Even with the attention to massive battles, destruction, and elephantine opponents, the fights between titans and mortals is never fully convincing, most apparent due to the differences in size and strength. It doesn’t help that Perseus’ abilities are never clearly defined, requiring stitches for injury and wincing in pain during one attack, yet shrugging off a duel with Ares in which Perseus’ head is smashed repeatedly into stone columns. It’s also pitiable to see the tiniest bits of comic relief squeezed into the dialogue (“Go to hell,” requests Agenor, just before the group departs for the underworld) – there doesn’t seem to be room for humor in this particular world of barbarians, beasts, gods, and fantastical powers. “Wrath of the Titans” is, however, likely to get intrigued audiences to research the real stories behind Greek mythology, which are always far more fascinating than their filmic counterparts.

– The Massie Twins

 

 



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