Wrath of the Titans, a follow-up that nobody asked for to 2010’s frequently trashed Clash of the Titans, could take a few cues from the biggest money-earner of the year so far. In The Hunger Games, all of the gritty action is rooted in reality, all character and story-related. Wrath of the Titans is a clunky, obvious actioner that has all the subtlety of a sword through the skull.
Having never seen Clash of the Titans myself, it was with some amount of skepticism that I went into its sequel. While the opinion on the first flick seemed to be pretty unanimous, I always thought it looked quite good and have always kind of liked Sam Worthington ever since Avatar. My boyfriend wanted to go, so I figured, what the hell I’ll give the movie a shot.
It starts out with pretty much the only injection of storyline the whole movie holds together: Zeus comes to Perseus and begs him to get more people to pray for the Gods to give them strength, because they are losing their powers. Then, Zeus basically gets kidnapped and the rest of the movie is about Perseus trying to find him in the Underworld.
Sam Worthington is perfectly adequate as Perseus, giving the movie it’s one single interesting character. A couple of the supporting players (Liam Neeson as Zeus, Bill Nighy as some peddler) shine in their roles, but there are far too many characters introduced to be able to distinguish one from another. Unless you are particularly well-versed in the mythology already presented within the film, I’m not sure the average viewer would have any sort of idea what was going on.
Furthermore, what the hell was going on with the love story? I can barely even muster the strength to call it a love story, especially considering the complete and total lack of chemistry between the Queen and Perseus. The Queen is the single most boring character in the movie, blindly following the group with very little to do or say until almost the very end. One role and actress, though, is definitely the least of this movie’s issues.
The main problem with the movie lies in its screenplay, which is pretty much in tatters. The dialogue is wooden and the action jumps from one dull set-piece to another with no real feeling or connection. I couldn’t help but applaud (and keel over from laughter) at the ending, when one of the lead characters bites the bullet in spectacularly cheesy fashion. While the special effects are ridiculously amazing, the story simply can’t hold itself together. I turned to my boyfriend several times during the movie to ask what was going on, which speaks something about the way the material was presented.
There seems to be way too much been there, done that feeling here. Wrath of the Titans isn’t anything new, and it’s nothing I haven’t seen thousands of times before. There are two really phenomenal action scenes in the whole runtime, and the rest of the filler throughout really falls flat: this includes several too-brief battles that succeed at being loud and absolutely nothing else, as well as far too many instances of coincidental timing. One scene infuriated me beyond repair… How can you show a lost group of people and then seconds later you fade to them being exactly where they needed to go? That’s some lazy writing.
Maybe I would have had a stronger connection to the material if I’d seen the previous film first, but as it stands, Wrath of the Titans is an incredibly poor movie and a perfect demonstration as to what is wrong with Hollywood today. When action movies have substance and meaning behind them (see: Thor, Hunger Games, The Dark Knight) they are indefinitely more enjoyable. With the poor box office returns and atrocious critic and fan reviews, I wouldn’t expect to see a third film in the franchise anytime soon, and I don’t think I would complain. If they do continue this franchise, let’s hope next time is a little more creatively sound.