Aiming for goals beyond its reach, Wrath of the Titans fudges what should have been a simplistic concept as Gods and demi-Gods bore with talk and fight without spirit.
Clash of the Titans was not a well-received film, but it worked its action/adventure formula well enough to make it entertaining in the right places. With Wrath of the Titans it seems that director Jonathan Liebesman is trying too hard to impress his detractors by adding depth to a film about warring Gods, yet loses focus while trying to change tactic.
The film begins with our hero Perseus (Sam Worthington) now a widower with a young son (John Bell). A visit from his old man and king of the Gods, Zues (Liam Neeson) comes with a dire warning: mankind has stopped praying and the Gods are getting weak, bringing about the return of Cronos, the father of Zeus, Hades (Ralph Fiennes) and Poseidon (Danny Huston) who is hell bent on bringing Armageddon.
With the Gods in conflict it is up to Perseus and his group of warriors to save mankind from Cronos’ wrath.
Of course Perseus battles all types of mythological creature while doing so, yet Liebesman drops the ball on could have been good action set pieces. A tussle with a trio of Cyclops giants is neither exciting nor scary, and what could have been the films highlight in a standoff between Perseus and the Minatour instead becomes a series of thuds and grunts that is barely comprehensible through shaky cam and dark lighting.
Liebesman has shifted his focus more on drama than action in this sequel, and he fails while doing so. Not only is the script not up to scratch in presenting a high stakes melodrama about jealousy and regret in the kingdom of the Gods, but their leading man in stretched out of his comfort zone and unable to deliver the nuances and passion needed. Worthington’s strengths are his intensity and physicality, not his emotional range.
The rest of the cast don’t fare any better. Neeson and Fiennes have spent their credibility angle in the first film and are left floundering here, and Toby Kebbell falters in providing that comic relief the film so needed.
It is Edgar Ramirez that’s the best part of Wrath of the Titans in his portrayal of Ares, the God of War. Cold and violent, his characters approach of putting his head down and getting on with the job is exactly the philosophy Wrath of the Titans should have taken.
Mind numbing, big action spectacle is what Wrath of the Titans should have been. That Lieberman thought he had the tools to deliver anything beyond that is the only entertaining thing to be taken from this misdirected mess.