Combustible Celluloid
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With: Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Édgar Ramírez, Toby Kebbell, Rosamund Pike, Bill Nighy, Danny Huston, John Bell, Lily James, Alejandro Naranjo, Freddy Drabble, Kathryn Carpenter
Written by: David Leslie Johnson, Dan Mazeau, Greg Berlanti, based on a screenplay by Beverley Cross
Directed by: Jonathan Liebesman
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of fantasy violence and action
Running Time: 99
Date: 03/28/2012

Wrath of the Titans (2012)

1 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

More Sloth Than 'Wrath'

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

In Wrath of the Titans, a new sequel to a remake (but not a remake of a sequel), the demigod Perseus (Sam Worthington) returns, once again hoping to live a peaceful life as a fisherman, this time with his son, Helius (John Bell). But once again, the universe -- or is it just the earth? -- is threatened. 

Hades (Ralph Fiennes), aided by his nephew Ares (Edgar Ramirez), hatches an evil plan to drain the powers of Zeus (Liam Neeson) and resurrect Hades' and Zeus' father, Kronos, who is actually a giant, fiery beastie. It's up to Perseus to hit the road, assemble the three parts of a mighty weapon, rescue Zeus, and battle the beastie before it rampages all over the place in slow motion. (Really, it would take a very long time for this thing to destroy the earth.) In the meantime, he battles several other giant, computer-generated monsters, so by the time he gets to the really big one, the build-up has rather worn off. 

For some reason, once again, Perseus is saddled with a group of oddball sidekicks including a queen (Rosamund Pike), a comical cousin, the half-human son of Poseidon (Toby Kebbell), and a gratuitous pretty girl (Lily James). Unfortunately, even giving Perseus someone to talk to during his travails does little to add depth to his character. Indeed, he's about as interesting as many of the rubbery-looking digital creatures. 

The dialogue consists of the characters occasionally reminding each other of what's going on. While concentrating on this, the writers forget to supply Kebbell with any funny lines. He just turns into scenery. Even the most skilled among the cast look like they're trying hard to stay awake. (Though to be fair, even the great Laurence Olivier grappled with this problem in the 1981 original.) 

Thematically, the movie pretends to struggle with what it's like to be human, but clearly doesn't have much to say on the subject; it's far more concerned with battles and 3D effects. 

Director Jonathan Liebesman has been responsible for some outright junky films in his day, including Darkness Falls, Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning, and Battle: Los Angeles. Wrath of the Titans is no exception. Yet somehow this bland sequel manages to improve slightly on its bombastic and aggressively stupid predecessor. So, those that liked Clash of the Titans and were eagerly awaiting a sequel will be pleased, but the greater majority will have to wait for something better.
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