Greek mythology has never been more grandiose than in director Jonathan Liebesman’s Wrath of the Titans. A big-budget, silly, special effects overload that ends up being the kind of goofy B-movie fun that dazzles, and then quickly fades from memory.
In this follow up to 2010’s Clash of the Titans, Perseus (Sam Worthington) rounds up a few allies – including the son of Poseidon Agenor (Toby Kebbell) and the quiet, but strong willed Queen Andromeda (Rosamund Pike) – to head into the deathly underworld to rescue his quickly fading father Zeus (Liam Neeson).
Down below Zeus is held captive by his power hungry, sadistic son Ares (Edgar Ramirez) and his brother that he banished o-so long ago, Hades (Ralph Fiennes). By attempting to save his ill father, Perseus and company must fight off the dangerous Titans that are beginning to threaten to existence of humankind.
The whole plot is a bit convoluted and bizarre, but the film’s serious beats are often countered with some light comedy that makes for a middle of the road, non-offensive cinematic experience. Some well-constructed emotional notes are peppered throughout as well: Most specifically, the relationship between Perseus and his 10-year-old son Hellus (John Bell). Perseus (a demi-God) wishes to continue their normal, fishing village life, without warfare lingering over every horizon. That’s why it’s tough for Perseus to leave his son when he knows that he must save his father from eternal despair.
But Wrath of the Titans doesn’t rely on the tactfulness of character development, but rather the sheer spectacle that Liebesman presents. While the special effects often are mesmerizing (especially some of the underworld designs), I think we’ve come to a point in time where the onslaught of effects has run its course.
While most of us enjoy getting swept up by the visual craft of multi-million dollar productions, relying so much on the artificial aesthetics makes this film consistently lack humanity (despite the father-son relationship, which occupies a whole 5 minutes of screen time). Attempting to sympathize or care for Perseus and company, as they battle to the death to save Zeus and wipe out these terrifying Titans, is difficult.
The spirit is intact here. And by spirit, I mean Liebesman understands the inherent playfulness and silliness he’s creating, and subsequently plays along with it. Wrath is filled with cheesy one-liners that fans of the genre will fall head over heels for.
I’m not necessarily excusing the film from its shortcomings — there are much too many to ruminate over – i.e.: I’m still searching for that second act. But Wrath of the Titans is that type of chaotic spectacle that demands plenty from its characters, and little from its audience. If you can manage to get past the frenzy of special effects, you may just be surprised how much you enjoy yourself.
That said… What’s this film about again?
2.5 out of 4 stars
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