By all accounts, Clash of the Titans was a disappointment. Even if you look past the crummy post-conversion 3D, the film was a mess. Critics tore it apart and most moviegoers walked away from the theatres disappointed. But, the film did manage to turn a juicy profit for Warner Bros. and so, here we are two years later with a sequel, Wrath of the Titans.
The film takes place a full decade after the events in the first film. Perseus (Sam Worthington) has left his Kraken slaying ways behind for life as a fisherman. Life is simple, easy and care free for him, that is until his father Zeus (Liam Neeson) appears and warns him of a prophecy. Apparently, humans have lost faith in the gods, resulting in a loss of power for the almighty beings.
Meanwhile down in Tartarus, an underworld prison where the Olympians banished the evil Titans to, the walls are starting to weaken. Kronos (Zeus’ father), Hades (Ralph Fiennes) and Poseidon will soon be strong enough to rise up again and wreak havoc on the human world. Zeus wants Perseus to help him contain the mess down in Tartarus but of course, our fearless hero is a bit reluctant.
Everything changes though when Hades captures Zeus. With his father in peril, and no other options left, Perseus sets out with his old friend Queen Andromeda (Rosamund Pike), fallen god Hephaestus (Bill Nighy) and Poseidon’s demigod son Agenor (Toby Kebbell) to free Zeus and hopefully, put an end to these damn Titans once and for all.
Battle: Los Angeles director Jonathan Liebesman is at the helm this time around but he doesn’t do much better than his predecessor Louis Leterrier. If you didn’t like what Liebesman did with his shaky, over the shoulder camera in Battle: Los Angeles, you may be disappointed with the action here. A lot of it is shot in that same style, save for a few well done battles at the end of the film. This makes most of the action blurry, confusing and hard to follow.
And if that wasn’t bad enough, most of the fighting here lacks any sense of exhilaration or excitement. A couple of shots show some visual flair from the director and a sprinkle of creativity but it’s not often enough that we see this side of Liebesman. Most of the direction is bland and uninspired.
The 3D is once again done in post-conversion and while it’s not perfect, it’s better than the 3D in Clash of the Titans. The ending does take advantage of the format effectively but aside from that and a few gimmick shots, it’s still nothing to write home about. Where the film does improve though is in the effects, which are evidently better than they were in Clash of the Titans. All of the monsters are well designed too and the lack of imagination and zest in the writing is somewhat made up for in the production design.
In the lead role, Sam Worthington is bland as ever. His live action track record isn’t great and Wrath of the Titans doesn’t change that. The writers throw themes like family and duty his way but the actor doesn’t do much with them. He’s flat in almost every scene and doesn’t show much emotion or range.
The rest of the cast isn’t much better either. Cringe worthy dialogue flows out of everyone’s mouth, though some are better at handling it than others. Esteemed actors like Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes return for the sequel and thankfully have a bit more to work with. That being said, neither are exactly at the top of their game here. Rosamund Pike and Toby Kebbell play Worthington’s sidekicks and they too offer very little to the film.
Édgar Ramírez and Bill Nighy are the only ones who fare well here. Ramirez wears the bad guy mask quite effectively and exudes a fair amount of charisma while Nighy, who is criminally underused, strolls along chewing scenery and is just as entertaining as he always is.
To be fair, Wrath of the Titans is a step up from its predecessor but that’s not saying a lot. The wooden acting, dull storyline and uninspired direction all show up as we are treated to another sloppy film that really has no business being in theatres. Exciting action set pieces are limited as most of the film carries on in a lacklustre manner, leading us along its nearly non-existent screenplay.
We jump from one monster to the next with very little sense of flow or story. It all feels so mechanical and contrived and to be frank, it gets boring rather quickly. The last battle is admittedly quite good and looks even better in 3D but aside from that, there’s really not much here to get excited about.
To me, Wrath of the Titans just feels like another missed opportunity for this franchise. With a large budget, an army of visual effects wizards, epic material for the story and acting legends like Liam Neeson in the cast, this series could have been pretty great. But, like with Clash of the Titans, this film just feels wholly mediocre, and even a step below that at times.
That being said, you can expect a healthy box office take for the film and so, Warner Bros. will be putting out a third on in a year or two. In fact, they’ve already hired the writers to pen the screenplay.