Wrath of the Titans, 2012.
Directed by Jonathan Liebesman.
Starring Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Édgar Ramírez, Rosamund Pike, Toby Kebbell, Bill Nighy and Danny Huston.
Perseus (Sam Worthington) must travel into the underworld to save his father Zeus (Liam Neeson) from the combined threat of Ares (Édgar Ramírez) and Hades (Ralph Fiennes).
There’s not much to say when reviewing a film such as Wrath of the Titans; it’s a sequel no one wanted but was financed off the back of a surprisingly successful first entry, the same of which can be said for countless other sequels. Simply put, if you didn’t mind, or even liked, 2010’s Clash of the Titans, then you might not hate Wrath. If, however, you hated Clash, then stay well away of this latest instalment.
I watched Clash for the first time the day before seeing Wrath believing that, if I remotely enjoyed it, then maybe I’d see the sequel. As you may have worked out form me writing this review, I did quite enjoy Clash; although far from faultless and at times wooden, the set design and special effects were so good and the story not hampered by too much romance or side-plots, that I felt it was raised slightly above the usual CGI-laden offerings. So, it passed the threshold and off I went to see the follow-up.
Essentially Wrath of the Titans is more of the same but just not as well rounded. There’s the same quota of action and mythological spectacle and the filmmakers have put every penny of the $150m budget on the screen which results in, yet again, some very impressive creature effects, sets, and visuals and at only 99 minutes it certainly can’t be accused of out-staying its welcome. The script, however, is far too rushed and full of exposition in the opening ten minutes, leaving the remaining 89 filled with either action and battles (which I liked) or crassly interspersed dialogue to remind the audience of why the characters are doing what they’re doing, because not one person either in screen or in the cinema could describe it by those points. It’s in these scenes where Wrath shows its weaknesses; we shouldn’t need great long speeches and laughably anachronistic dialogue to justify the action and character motivation, even in a film as silly as this. Every other line is either an ill-advised attempt at humour (thankfully missing in Clash) or characters telling us what’s going on.
Worse still is the casting; in any other film Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Bill Nighy and Rosamund Pike would be a casting dream, but here they are just paying the bills until something better comes along. That is not the case, however, with the leading man. Sam Worthington is so bad when it’s time to open his mouth, it’s a wonder he gets roles in such big films. Avatar, Terminator: Salvation, Clash and Wrath are all masterclasses in how not to act. I want him banned from any future big-budget productions but sadly I fear he’s here to stay for a while longer. He’s an absolute charisma vacuum.
You could tear into this film if you really wanted to (and many reviewers have) but to me it was passable entertainment and most importantly of all it was not offensive. It’s not a remake or reboot and there’s no foul language or racist robots or blatant rip-offs from other films. Yes, director Jonathan Liebesman can’t shoot a scene for more than three seconds without cutting, and yes that is very annoying and is an attempt to hide the fact that he cannot direct a film to save his life… but it’s a million times better than he last offering, Battle: Los Angeles, so we have that to be thankful for.
Flickering Myth Rating: Film ** / Movie **