Wrath of the Titans: Theatrical Review

It’s been over 10 years since Perseus defeated the Kraken. Perseus was asked by his father Zeus to join him in Olympus, but declined to live his life out as a normal man.  He married Io and now has a son named Helius.  Io has since passed on and Perseus does his best to keep his son away from the life that he, Perseus, once led.  But Zeus has kept a watchful eye on his son and now the time has come where Zeus must call upon Perseus for his aid.  The ruler of the underworld, Hades, and the god of war, Ares, have joined forces to release the Titan, Kronos from his imprisonment in Tartarus and rule over the world of man.  At first, Perseus declines wanting nothing more than to spend his days with his son.  Soon though, events transpire that forces Perseus to join the battle and live up to the responsibility that’s part and parcel to his heritage.

That’s the premise to Wrath of the Titans the sequel to 2010’s Clash of the Titans and it’s also the latest film from director Jonathan Liebesman who directed last year’s Battle Los Angeles.  2010’s Clash of the Titans (a re-make of the 1981 Ray Harryhausen film) is not exactly well liked by most out there; I’m OK with it my own self- it’s not the greatest movie ever made, but it’s far from being the piece of trash that most make it out to be.  The thing that I don’t really forgive about it though is that it was the first major release post-Avatar to jump on the 3D bandwagon with a rushed 3D conversion, and at least in my estimation, was the starting point for the anti-3D feelings that you see from a lot of filmgoers today.  With that sort of pedigree (keeping in mind that Battle Los Angeles isn’t exactly well-liked either- though I enjoyed it a great deal), Wrath of the Titans has a couple of potential strikes against it before it’s even out of the gate.

Fortunately, Liebesman and crew took a good look at what was wrong with Clash and have gone to some considerable lengths to make it’s sequel a lot more fun.  And it is that, quite a bit of fun, but still with a few faults.

Liebesman shot Battle Los Angeles with an effective hand-held style that was great for putting you right in the middle of the action and he does the same thing here.  Now that style isn’t totally prevalent in this movie, and there’s plenty of instances where Liebesman will pull back his camera and give you a much clearer vantage point for all of the action.  While I prefer the hyper-stylized look of a similar movie like Immortals, this is  still a pretty darn good-looking film with some well-choreographed action, a few very cool set pieces and some terrific visual effects (very impressed by their rendition of Kronos which totally looks like it could’ve been a creation by the late, great Jack Kirby).

Now they do play a little fast and loose with the basic mythology and the characters are somewhat simplistic, but the ride is fast-paced and the 3D is absolutely fantastic.  That is the real improvement over Clash.  Clash’s 3D was an afterthought, Wrath’s 3D is well executed especially during the action sequences.

Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes and Danny Huston reprise their roles of Perseus, Zeus, Hades and Poseidon respectively.  Worthington really looks more the part now with his hair grown out.  He’s terrific in the action scenes and while he won’t win any dramatic awards for this, I thought the final scene in the film between Perseus and his son, Helius (john Bell) was actually pretty cool.  Neeson and Fiennes certainly both add gravity to this, and look like their having their own fun with it as well (especially Neeson).  New to this production are Rosamund Pike, Edgar Ramirez, Toby Kebbell and Bill Nighy.  Kudos to both Kebbell and Nighy for bringing a good sense of humor to the film.  Kebbell plays Agenor, the son of Poseidon and Nighy plays Hephaestus, the god who served as the blacksmith to the gods.  Nighy in particular looks like he’s having a ball with the part.

Wrath of the Titans won’t change anyone’s world, but it is a helluva lot of fun and a significantly better movie than it’s predecessor.  The look of the film is terrific, the action scenes and visual effects are exciting to watch, and the 3D is spectacular.  I had a great time with Wrath of the Titans and certainly recommend it.