Wrath of the Titans
Rated PG-13, 99 min. Directed by Jonathan Liebesman. Starring Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson, Rosamund Pike, Ralph Fiennes, Edgar Ramirez, Toby Kebbell, Bill Nighy, Danny Huston, John Bell.
REVIEWED By Marc Savlov, Fri., March 30, 2012
Sure to lift the benighted spirits of Greeks currently flailing in an economic Hades of their own making but a drag for anyone else, this iffy sequel to last year's Clash of the Titans is considerably less captivating than the Eurozone crisis. It doesn't help matters that the 3-D, which by now is all but unavoidable, remains uninspired – although, to be fair, it's not as muddily dark as its predecessor, Clash of the Titans.
Beginning 10 years after the events of the first film, the sequel picks up as Kraken-slaying, demigod widower Perseus (Worthington) attempts to raise his tweenage son Helius (Bell) in the time-honored (and relatively peril-free) lifestyle of a fisherman. Not so fast, Kraken-hater. Zeus (Neeson), ever the meddler, appears to his son and warns of imminent catastrophe: The gods are dying because people no longer believe in them, and the one, the OG Titan Kronos is preparing to erupt on the Earth and plunge everything – gods, monsters, salmon and all – into total oblivion. What's a young(-ish) demigod to do? Align with Poseidon's bastard offspring Agenor (Kebbell) and leggy tactician Queen Andromeda (Pike) to save the world, natch.
This involves a journey to the underworld where, thankfully, Bill Nighy appears as the fallen Hephaestus – yet another of the eternally randy progeny of Zeus and the metallurgist maker of Poseidon's trident, Hades’ pitchfork, and Zeus' thunderbolt. Nighy brings a sense of the sublime to a film that takes itself far, far too seriously. You can see him resisting the urge to giggle or cackle or generally cut up in front of all these muscle-bound heroes, and the sequence, while brief, nearly redeems the rest of the film. But it's not enough. Predictably, another of Zeus' scions enters the fray – the duplicitous Ares (Ramirez), god of daddy issues (and war) – and thus all bets are off, excluding any having to do with calamitous overuse of CGI and presto-change-o character development.
I've always said, "If you've seen one god, you've seen them all," and Wrath of the Titans only serves to underscore my point. There's nothing outwardly wrong with the film. It's exactly what you expect it will be: loud, uninspired, and budgetarily bloated – but it's nothing as compared to, say, a ruminative little indie film that might pose the question: "How is it that Zeus was unfamiliar with the etymology of the word 'prophylactic,' seeing as how the root is, so to speak, Greek to me?" Another film, another time.