- Rated PG-13
- Buy the BD
All photos © Warner Bros.
Reviewed by Jason Zingale
ouis Leterrier’s 2010 remake of “Clash of the Titans” may not have been very well received by critics, but it still made a ton of money at the box office, and these days, that’s all you need to convince a studio to greenlight a sequel, even if there didn't appear to be much interest in one. Of course, that hasn't stopped them from making one anyway, and though "Wrath of the Titans" is leaner and more focused than its predecessor, it's not any better where it counts. 3D enthusiasts will find some pleasure in the improved effects, but the movie is just more of the same – a remarkably bland product of the Hollywood machine that falsely believes quality is proportionate to the size of its budget.
It’s been a decade since the demigod Perseus (Sam Worthington) rose to hero status after defeating the Kraken, but he’s traded in all that glory for a simpler life as a fisherman and single father to his son Helius. In that time, humanity has stopped praying to the gods, resulting in the gradual loss of their powers and control over the imprisoned Titans. So when bitter gods Hades (Ralph Fiennes) and Ares (Edgar Ramirez) kidnap Zeus (Liam Neeson) to use as a sacrifice to release Kronos, the granddaddy of the Titans, from his millennia-long slumber, Perseus must team up with Queen Andromeda (Rosamund Pike) and Agenor (Toby Kebbell), the demigod son of Poseidon, in order to rescue Zeus from his imprisonment before all of his powers are siphoned to Kronos and the Titan can wreak havoc on the universe.
The story is a lot more straightforward than it sounds, merely providing the means to get Perseus from one fight to the next while director Jonathan Liebesman diligently crosses them off his to-do list. Battle a Chimera? Check. Fight the Minotaur? Check. Face off against a Cyclops? Check. Unfortunately, for a movie featuring so many iconic mythological figures, the battles are completely void of excitement, none more so than the climactic showdown with Kronos, the Titan god of time, who's curiously depicted here as a giant, slow-moving rock-and-lava creature with no explanation for the change other than it looks really cool. Maybe I’m just being fickle, but when the one actual Titan in your story doesn’t even conform to basic mythology, it doesn't speak well for the film.
The only thing that “Wrath of the Titans” truly has going for it is the cast. Although Sam Worthington is as wooden as ever and Rosamund Pike (stepping in for Alexa Davolos) is terribly miscast as the damsel in distress turned warrior queen, both Toby Kebbell and Bill Nighy bring some much-needed levity to the material. Nighy, in particular, is so good as Hephaestus that you’ll wish he stuck around longer, if only to make a few more Kraken jokes. It’s also nice to see Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes get more to do this time around, and their scenes together are easily the highlight of the film. Unfortunately, that’s really the best you could say about “Wrath of the Titans,” because while the opportunity was certainly there to improve upon the faults of the first film, Liebesman’s sequel only serves to remind us what made “Clash of the Titans” so bad to begin with.
Two-Disc Blu-ray Review:
Warner Bros.’ Maximum Movie Mode headlines a small but impressive collection of bonus material, with the option of two different picture-in-picture experiences to choose from. While “The Path of Gods” focuses on the mythology within the story, “The Path of Men” delivers a more typical behind-the-scenes look at making the film. Additionally, there are a series of mini-featurettes called Focal Points (which can also be accessed during Maximum Movie Mode) that cover some of the bigger set pieces, the characters and creatures, and other topics, as well as deleted scenes and a DVD and digital copy.