Wrath of the Titans (2012)

In exile with his son as anonymous fishermen after defeating the Kraken, Perseus (Sam Worthington) refuses to aid his father Zeus (Liam Neeson) in the Godly battle to keep the escaping prisoners of Tartarus at bay. When a mutiny at the hands of Ares (Édgar Ramírez), God of War, sees the Gods either killed or imprisoned, however, Perseus has no choice but to travel to the underworld in order to free his father and prevent Hades (Ralph Fiennes) from releasing the nigh-unstoppable Kronos from his dormancy. Knowing that only the combined might of Zeus’ Thunderbolt, Hades’ Pitchfork, and Poseidon’s Trident – combined to make the Spear of Triam – has ever proved effective in stopping Kronos, Perseus seeks the weapons’ creator, Hephaestus (Bill Nighy), along with Queen Andromeda (Rosamund Pike, for pity’s sake) and Agenor (Toby Kebbell), the demigod son of Poseidon.

While the biggest complaint which arose from Jonathan Liebesman’s dismal Clash of the Titans was undoubtedly the film’s lacklustre 3D conversion, the first of many cracks in the format’s predicted dominance, the film was nevertheless riddled with myriad problems that made it almost unwatchable. Poor acting, bland storytelling and retina-frying effects that only served to confuse the narrative further, Clash of the Titans was a turgid, humourless and uncharismatic mess of a summer blockbuster. It seemed that nothing could be worse than Liebesman’s original movie, and mercifully Wrath of the Titans doesn’t disappoint; after all, it’s amazing what can be achieved when you strike Gemma Arterton from your payroll.

Don’t get me wrong, we’re not talking artistry, or even a particularly competent level of filmmaking. Wrath of the Titans is not inspired, revelatory or memorable, but in a largely unexpected turn of events it is at the very least watchable. Indeed, there is a 20 minute chunk of the movie that is actually pretty enjoyable – 20 consecutive minutes which align perfectly with Bill Nighy’s allocated screen-time. While the film’s opening suffers from many of the same issues as its predecessor – Sam Worthington, unintelligible CGI, Sam Worthington – the moment that Perseus arrives on Hephaestus’s island with the newly recruited Andromeda and Agenor things really start to pick up. The Cyclops’ attack is particularly well executed – as they blunder about causing all sorts of mild peril with a welcome level of thrill – while Nighy hams it up to delicious effect as the near-schizoid blacksmith.

Alas, this respite from sword and sandals drudgery does not last, and soon we are back in Hell (both metaphorical and literal) for the magma-baked finale. Throughout, the sheer idiocy of the film builds to a semi-climactic moment in which Andromeda’s army lights fires in an attempt to ward off the smouldering beasts of Tartarus, and, presumably, Kronos himself: a titanic combination of molton rock, pyroclast and Hellfire. Other facepalm-worthy moments include a scene in which one demigod can’t escape a wooden trap only for another to level the Temple of Gods, and a truly astonishing set piece in which Perseus flies down Kronos’ superheated throat, clearly awash with lava, only to return unscathed.

Aside from the often rampant stupidity, however, the double team of Liebesman and Worthington remains the film’s biggest weakness. Even in moments of apparently high-octane action, Liebesman somehow manages to invoke a slow monotony that makes Wrath of the Titans drag like Sisyphus’ sentence. With a cast comprising the likes of Pike, Fiennes and Nighy, it’s simply amazing how difficult it is to invest in the story or any of its constituent characters. Just as Clash suffered by comparison to Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightening Thief, so too does Wrath struggle to live up to the admittedly low standard set by Tarsem Singh’s utterly dire Immortals. At least Singh’s visual flair gave the film some sort of perceived depth. Meanwhile, Worthington delivers yet another performance so one-note that you find your eyes wandering to the nearest sand dune or ceiling light whenever he’s onscreen.

While Wrath of the Titans may be immeasurably better than its indefensible predecessor, then, it still leaves much to be desired; a charismatic protagonist and a half-decent director chief amongst its biggest concerns. Despite the stupidity, the tedium and the indiscriminate pixels, however, it is almost worth the price of admission, even if it’s just to see an armour-clad Rosamund Pike demand to speak to whoever is in charge, whether it’s a frothing Bill Nighy or an inanimate metal owl.


About popcornaddiction
I am a psychology graduate, a News Writer for HeyUGuys/BestforFilm and, most importantly, a hopeless popcorn addict.

One Response to Wrath of the Titans (2012)

  1. Pingback: April 2012 – I have a plan: attack! « popcornaddict

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