Not “Empire”: ‘Wrath of the Titans’ (Movie Review)

Did they really need a sequel to 2010’s remake of the classic Clash of the Titans?  Of course they didn’t.  But if the success of 2011’s Insidious taught us anything, it’s that any movie that meekly survives to cultivate a profit in this tumulus day and age…well…deserves a sequel.  And rightfully so.  Why not?!  I had fun with the 2010 remake.  And why not?  The CGI was light years better.  Hell…bring on a sequel…I always say.  Low and behold, it’s March 2012 and my wish has come true.  Never did I see this coming as an adolescent child of the 80’s, but say hello to my little friend…Wrath of the Titans.

Wrath of the Titans reunites the big three, in my opinion, Sam Worthington, Ralph Fiennes and Liam Neeson, and also stars Rosamund Pike, Bill Nighy, Edgar Ramirez and Danny Huston.  Sadly, and I mean with the utmost sincerity, one of the main reasons I loved the 2010 remake so much, the stunning Gemma Arterton, is nowhere to be found in this feature.  Not even in a fricking flashback!  Come on!  And last but certainly not least, helming this project is Jonathan Liebesman in the director’s chair working from a screenplay hatched by Dan Mazeau and David Leslie Johnson (a personal favorite of mine).

Wrath of the Titans picks up a decade after the events in the first film where Perseus (Worthington) has forever become known as the Kraken slayer.  Gemma’s character (Perseus’ love interest in the first film), I don’t know how, has already perished from this fictional world and Perseus is trying to live a quiet life as a fisherman in addition to being the sole parent to his 10-year-old son, Helius.  Life seems okay and complacent for the two, but hark!  Who goes there?!  Fear not…danger looms!

People don’t pray anymore.  That’s the trouble with this world, right?  I don’t know, but that certainly seems to be the dilemma here where our three Gods, Zeus (Neeson), Hades (Fiennes) and Poseidon (Huston), have become weakened by humanity’s lack of devotion and faith and as a result, they are losing control of the imprisoned demons/titans of the underworld, most notably their father…Kronos, who has been long overthrown by their sons and left in the abyss of Tartarus.  Wow!  That was a long a$$ sentence!

In our story, Zeus comes to Perseus for help, but he dismisses his father’s plea.  His warrior days are long over and he just wants to be there for his son.  Wow!  Kids really do make a person soft, don’t they?  I thought that was only women who make men weak in the knees, but I digress.  Perseus really can’t ignore the events not only unfolding right in front of him, but also engulfing him and his son too.  He quickly realizes he has these powers for a reason and has a duty to use them when he is made aware of the simple fact that his son is in more imminent danger than if he remained ignorant of the situation and also when he learns that Hades and Ares (Ramirez) made a deal with Kronos to capture and drain Zeus’ life power, not to mention mortally wounding Poseidon.  You lost yet?  The choice is made easy for Perseus as you can see.  He must muster up enough strength to endure and salvage what fighting skills he remembers if he is going to propel this story into Act 2…and that he does.  And so our story really propels forwards and begins here.  This is the Wrath of the Titans.

I ws entertained.  I give it that.  I was dead dog tired, but not once did I drift away into private sleep sanctuary.  I had a fun ride with Wrath, but I couldn’t help feeling that it was ultimately just ordinary and nothing too special.  I realize that it’s also the preconceived state of mind I had going into this one.  I mean, how do you top the classic moments and events of the original film that everyone knows and loves in mythology?  I’m not convinced you can.  You just kind of have to give your core audience much of the same that they came to expect from the first film instead of playing a bait and switch like Lucas did with The Phantom Menace.

The action, battle and thrills are just kind of felt helplessly forced and lackluster.  I did not notice anything here that hasn’t been done already.  At least they got Hades hairline right this time around, but nevertheless there were still some bad hairpieces too.  Perhaps what I loved best about the film was Perseus’ undying love to do whatever he must in order to protect his son.  That relationship was heartwarming and made this feature human, but why the hell do I keep thinking Helius is young Ron from the Harry Potter franchise?  Oh well…that’s irrelevant for the moment.  LOL.  And I guess what I liked second best about the feature was the “Fun and Games” section of the screenplay where Perseus must relearn what he forgot in terms of fighting.  I tell you…that kid and ten years of fishing really took its toll on the man.  Let that be your contraceptive warning of the day.

I can’t end this review without mentioning Perseus’ cohorts.  Before embarking on this treacherous journey to the bowels of the underworld, Perseus enlists the help of Queen Andromeda (Pike), you’ll remember her, and Poseidon’s bastard son (oops…I mean demi-God), the hilarious Agenor (Toby Kebbell).  Like Dan Fogler to Dane Cook in Good Luck Chuck, Kebbell stole the show here at times, in my opinion, as the hilarious wise-cracking, comedic sidekick.  Along their journey they meet up and interact with “The Fallen One.”  No, this isn’t Transformers, The Fallen One is named Hephaestus (Bill Nighy), and he’s the one who skillfully crafted all the God’s weapons.

So that’s about it.  Long review, huh? Wrath of the Titans is no magical trip like its predecessor, but it’s a far cry from the atrocity of the battlefields scorned in last years Conan reboot.  Wrath has charisma and heart, but lacks the necessary triumphant and epic cinematic ingredients necessary to rival the big boys like Empire Strikes Back or The Dark Knight in the sequels category.  However in hindsight, I have a feeling this gritty action piece is going to sound bombastic and make a beautiful addition to my Blu-ray collection one fine day.  Bring it!

Is it wrong to want the Kraken back over Chronos?  Give it a watch and let me know.  I’ll be waiting.


Owner/Writer/Reviewer/Editor, Dreamer, Producer, Agent of Love, Film Lover, Writer of Screenplays and a Devoted Apostle to all things Ford Mustangs (the real ones with V8's!). Some of my favorite films include FIGHT CLUB, MOULIN ROUGE, THE DARK KNIGHT, STAR WARS alongside television shows such as SEINFELD, 24, SANFORD & SON and even the often loathed in the geek community BIG BANG THEORY. Outside of my three lives I live I also enjoy spending time with my girlfriend and our three girls (of the furry kind).

5 Responses to “Not “Empire”: ‘Wrath of the Titans’ (Movie Review)”

  1. Matt Goodman

    This review is long for everyone but Aaron 😉

  2. Aaron Neuwirth

    Other than this strange statement:

    “I had fun with the 2010 remake. And why not? The CGI was light years better.”

    I basically agree. I’ll take Harrhausesn’s stop-animation over 2010’s bland CGI fest

    Though, Good Luck Chuck is a terrible movie.

  3. Lauren Pacheco

    I’ll wait for DVD… when is the world going to come up with a decent mythological film!?! *sigh* craving Xena Warrior Princess now.

  4. Aaron Neuwirth

    What’s a ‘DVD’?

  5. Gregg

    You can’t really say the CGI was light years better in the remake. There was no CGI in the original. It was stop-motion animation. That’s like saying I think cars today are better than they were 150 years ago.

    DVD? Is that those things my neighbor’s dog uses? I thought they were little frisbees. Anyway, I’ll wait for the soundtrack on cassette.

    This line in the review was a concern of mine: “The action, battle and thrills are just kind of felt helplessly forced and lackluster.” That was a problem with the Clash remake (along with a horribly rendered Medusa). I feared that would hinder this film as well and it looks like that’s come to fruition. I’ll still check it out. We’re a quarter of the way through the year and there still aren’t any standouts at the cinema yet with a lot of wow power.