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‘Wrath of the Titans’, the action-heavy sequel to ‘Clash of the Titans’ (2010), hit theaters March 30, 2012. The trailer boasted more monsters, more fighting, and more special effects and while it delivers on those areas, it fails in every other category that would qualify for a good film.
‘Wrath of the Titans’ begins with a common mistake of most bad films: revealing a major character’s death off screen in the first five minutes. Roughly a decade has passed and the demi-god Io, who fell in love with Perseus (Sam Worthington) in the first film, has died after having a son named Helius (John Bell).
Perseus has retired from the hero business to raise his son as a fisherman. One night, his father Zeus (Liam Neeson) comes to his home to tell him that since mankind has stopped praying to the gods, they have all lost their powers and have begun dying off. In addition, Tartarus, the Underworld, is falling apart and so Zeus and Hades’ evil father Kronos will be able to break free from his prison and wreak havoc on the world.
Zeus wants Perseus to come with him and his half-brother, Ares (Edgar Ramirez), the God of War, to bargain with Hades (Ralph Fiennes) to help keep Kronos imprisoned. Perseus refuses on the grounds that he will not leave his son and so Zeus travels with his brother Poseidon (Danny Huston), God of the Seas, to Tartarus.
When they arrive, they are ambushed by Hades and Ares, who want to release Kronos to rule over the earth in exchange for keeping their immortality. Poseidon manages to escape and tells Perseus to find his son, Agenor (Toby Kebbell), who can lead them to Hephaestus (Bill Nighy) who can help them find their way into Tartarus to save Zeus.
The overcomplicated plot is the first flaw of the movie. In both this film and its predecessor, the audience is told that the gods run on prayer and worship. However, no one thinks to start praying to Zeus in order to increase his powers. Furthermore, the entire conflict is caused by Perseus’ refusal to come with Zeus, Ares, and Poseidon to bargain with Hades.
It made perfect sense for him to go, but he didn’t on the grounds that he didn’t want to leave his son. However, moments later Perseus leaves his son to go fishing and a Chimera attacks their village, almost killing the both of them. Furthermore, Zeus is a god. If Perseus had asked him to place his son somewhere safe while he went on the journey, the conflict could have been avoided.
There are plotholes the size of canyons in this film and they get bigger by the minute. The first film, while not good, at least had the decency to explain everything to avoid confusion. ‘Wrath’ does no such thing and it prevents any enjoyment of the movie.
The second biggest flaw of the movie is the lack of character establishment. There is little to no attempt to humanize, develop, or explore these characters. They are basically paper cutouts running around in a well-rendered environment with nothing interesting to say or do.
The worst offender is Andromeda (Rosamund Pike), whose entire presence is useless. First of all, she bears the same name of the princess from the first film whom Perseus rescued from the Kraken, but in the sequel she is blonde and played by a different actress. This is never referenced or explained in the film.
Is it the same character? Is the first princess considered non-canonical? Second of all, she goes on the journey to Tartarus with Perseus and Agenor, thus abandoning her post as Queen of the Grecian armies, and does absolutely nothing but get rescued by Perseus. Any feminists in the audience will immediately be angered by the lack of strong female characters in the film.
At least in the first film, Io was helpful and Medusa not only managed to be a legitimate threat, but she kills nearly all of the heroes on their quest. Andromeda’s character is pathetic and bears no relevance to the plot at all other than to add an x-chromosome to the cast and to moon over Perseus in a half-hearted attempt at a romance.
The third biggest flaw is the script. The characters have the absolute worst dialogue I’ve seen in a film this year so far. Most of the dialogue is either anachronistic, pointing out obvious things, or poor attempts at sarcasm.
The only person with amusing dialogue is the talented Mr. Bill Nighy, whose slightly insane character and hammy acting at least puts a smile on your face for the twenty minutes he appears in the film. Liam Neeson is at the very least trying to emote, but he has little to work with other than Ralph Fiennes.
However, the worst actor by far is Edgar Ramirez as Ares, the God of War. He looks like a homeless man who stumbled onto the set and was given the script.
Throughout the history of movies, video games, and literature, Ares is supposed to be an intimidating force of power but in this film, he is nothing more than a whiny adult child who is jealous of Perseus and spends every waking moment complaining about how he is the least favorite son. This is made worse by the fact that we are never shown these relationships, so there is no emotional weight between Zeus, Ares, and Perseus.
The only thing of merit in this mess of a film is the special effects, which are well done and create great environments for fight scenes. Everything else about ‘Wrath’ will inspire you to take out your own anger on the filmmakers for making such a poor recreation of Greek mythology. Save your money and sit this one out unless you want to really understand what wrath is all about.
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