Review: Wrath of the Titans

— by ADAM DALE —

Not very often do you hear a star admit that a movie they were in was a dud, especially not when the unexpected sequel is about to be released. But that is exactly what Sam Worthington did when discussing “Wrath of the Titans” — the follow up to 2010’s “Clash of the Titans.” He said, “I think the first one, we kind of let down some people. I think I can act better, to be honest.” He went on to discuss how much of an improvement “Wrath of the Titans” would be: “What we’re setting out to do with this one — the writers and the director and myself — is improve. Just take all the notes from people that I have been reading about on the ‘net and give them a movie they want. This one I want to kind of try to satisfy a lot more people.”

So with new director Jonathan Liebesman (“Battle Los Angeles”) and new writers, we are fundamentally getting a reboot, keeping the same cast that is setting out to impress and satisfy fans. Can they get it right the second time? Read on and find out.

Ten years after Perseus (Sam Worthington) defeated the legendary Kraken, he is a single father who has given up the life of a warrior to be a simple fisherman. His son Helius (John Bell) dreams of battles fought and a warrior’s life, but Perseus wants to have a normal life — which is why he declined an offer by his father Zeus (Liam Neeson) for him to join the Gods on Olympus and live as a man.

The Gods begin to lose their powers because mankind has stopped praying to them. If it continues, they can even become mortal and die. Zeus warns Perseus they can no longer keep the monsters and Titans imprisoned in Tartarus and they have begun to escape onto the Earth. When Zeus is captured by his brother Hades (Ralph Fiennes) and having his final remaining powers drained from him, Perseus must once again become the hero he was born to be and free his father before the ultimate Titan Kronos is released and destroys the earth.

Poseidon (Danny Huston) sets him on a path that will align him with the warrior Queen Andromeda (Rosamund Pike), Agenor (Toby Kebbell), a thief who is more than he appears, and Hephaestus (Bill Nighy), a fallen God who helped forge the three legendary weapons of Zeus, Poseidon and Hades. On this journey, they will have to fight Titans, Cyclops, the mighty Minotaur and the legendary warriors, the Makhai. Fighting Gods and Demi-Gods will prove harder than they ever imagined, but if successful, Perseus can save the entire Earthly realm once again.

Even though “Clash of the Titans” was a box off success worldwide, making over $493 million, fans and critics agreed it was a disappointment. The dialogue, the rushed 3D conversion and the film in general were seen as anticlimactic. Now, with the sequel, they have taken those aspects that didn’t quite work and improved on them with an added emphasis on humor and action. The best additions to the cast were by far Kebbell and Nighy, whose wild and funny characters added jokes and a spirit the first film was lacking. Everytime they were onscreen people were laughing, especially Nighy, whose character was hysterical in his insanity.

I think the storyline was better in “Clash of the Titans,” but that is mainly because it was Perseus’s origin story, and it was fun to watch what he could achieve and where he would end up. In the sequel, Worthington embodies the reluctant hero once again and his performance is more refined and we see behind the stern facade. The blooming love interest between him and Pike wasn’t as energetic as it was with Gemma Arterton in “Clash,” but it made an impact. Another great supporting character was Ares (Édgar Ramírez) — Perseus’s half brother — the God of War and the one who betrays Zeus and teams up with Hades to release Kronos. It was nice to see another villain instead of just Hades once again. As usual, Neeson and Fiennes were stellar as the brotherly Gods Zeus and Hades, but the performance you see from each surpasses the one before.

Now, the visual effects are first rate and the 3D was really engrossing this time. Director Jonathan Liebesman really took the time to set up each shot to where the technology would be put to good use and I was really impressed by it. So if you are debating on which version to see, I would suggest seeing it in3D. The effects are top-notch. The best and most awe-inspiring being traveling through the labyrinth and seeing Kronos emerge from the mountain as a colossal monster made out of ash and lava.

“Wrath of the Titans” is a fun movie to watch and the battles are epic. Correcting the mistakes of the past, we join Perseus and root for him and his companions to be victorious. Yes, the movie is larger in scale but the end-of-the-world scenario didn’t seem as pressing as the original voyage we took with the character two years ago. If you enjoyed the first one, then you likely will enjoy this one as well, and if you are reluctant to see this film after being let down with “Clash of the Titans,” just know that “Wrath of the Titans” is entertaining and superior in many ways.

“Wrath of the Titans” is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of fantasy violence and action and is in theaters now.

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