When Clash of the Titans was released back in 2010, it seemed people were using the horrible 3D usage as an excuse to further ravage the film. While that film wasn’t anything great (and was nowhere near the quality of the original film), it wasn’t anything to make such a huge fuss over. Wrath of the Titans continues the franchise in that vein as a solid entry that improves upon the first film.
In this sequel, Perseus is living a normal life with his son after Io (a sorely missed Gemma Arterton) has died. However, that normality is doomed to be short lived as Hades and Ares are hatching a plot to help Kronos (the father of the Gods and the first appearance of an actual Titan in the series) escape from Tartarus (the jail of the Gods). Jonathan Liebesman takes over in the director’s chair from a script by Greg Berlanti, David Leslie Johnson and Dan Mazeau. While Liebesman is a definite improvement over Louis Leterrier as director, the screenplay doesn’t fair so well. There is little attempt to flesh out any of the characters. The dialogue is subpar and the film’s ending leaves much to be desired. However, the screenplay does one thing right. It actually develops a theme, which is something most blockbusters fail to do. The film ends up having a distinguishable theme about the relationships between fathers and sons.
However, it is Liebesman’s direction that is the highlight of the film. He may not know how to handle a story, but this is a film about action. Liebesman delivers on that. Most of the action scenes are expertly handled. The opening fight scene has a stunning tracking shot and is well choreographed. A later fight scene involving Cyclops has some ingenious mechanisms to it. The only time Liebesman falters in this department is when he goes for a “bigger is more” approach in the final fight scene.
The acting is a mixed bag. Sam Worthington seems right at home with his role as Perseus, but it doesn’t involve any serious acting. Rosamund Pike is this film’s female lead, although she isn’t given much to do. That is such a shame and a real waste of talent. Bill Nighy and Edgar Ramirez play two new (to the series) gods. Nighy fares much better than Ramirez. Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes and Danny Huston all benefit from added screentime. Neeson and Fiennes are awesome and they give the viewers hope that these two will have a Schindler’s Listreunion in a much more substantial film than this one.
For those who complained about the visual effects in the last film, you will be happy to know that they are much better in this film. They aren’t anything groundbreaking, but some of the effects (especially the Chimera in the opening fight scene) are very lifelike. In fact, the entire visual design of this film is top notch (from the set to the costumes to the cinematography).
While this certainly won’t be anywhere near my top 10 of the year, Wrath of the Titans is a solid and fun time at the theater.