Wrath of the Titans

It’s safe to say that director Jonathan Liebesman will never be accused of being too subtle. After 2011’s over-the-top (and then some) Battle Los Angeles, he won the right to keep the re-tooled Clash of the Titans franchise alive.

Wrath of the Titans hits theaters with all the grace and nuance of a firebombed artillery factory. There are entire Michael Bay films that don’t include the amount of pyrotechnics and ear-splitting ka-booms that this thing has.

It’s not entirely a bad thing, though. If nothing else, it distracts from the fact that the script is mediocre, full of melodrama and schlock. But high-brow acting and eloquent dialogue isn’t what you paid for, now, is it?

Picking up a decade after the action of 2010’s Clash of the Titans, Wrath finds Perseus (Sam Worthington) enjoying his life as a humble fisherman alongside his son Helius (John Bell). One day Perseus’ dad Zeus (Liam Neeson) shows up, asking for his son’s help in saving the world, as the underworld prison Tartarus is crumbling, soon to release all kinds of badness.

Perseus, though, is hesitant to join in the fray, until Hades (Ralph Fiennes) and Ares (Edgar Ramirez) capture Zeus and take him to the underworld, where they’ll sap his strength and give it to the evil Kronos, leader of the Titans.

So Perseus teams up with Andromeda (Rosamund Pike, replacing Clash‘s Alexa Davalos) and Poseidon’s son Agenor (Toby Kebbell) to fight the evil and save the world. Their journey takes them from Cyclops-infested Lemnos to the Minotaur’s labyrinth to the fiery underworld– and with each leg of their journey, the peril gets louder and bigger. And louder. And bigger.

Liebesman holds nothing back, seamlessly blending some pretty-darn-snazzy visual effects with the live action. The result is infinitely more exciting than Clash, even at the expense of an interesting story and engaging characters. Plus, fans of the original Clash will be pleased to see that even Bubo makes an appearance.

Worthington still knows how to anchor a movie, and with a supporting class that includes heavyweights like Neeson and Fiennes, Wrath manages to keep its head above water… no thanks to the pedestrian screenplay by David Johnson (Red Riding Hood) and first-timer Dan Mazeau. Pike also deserves mention for rising above the camp to make it through unscathed.

Wrath is as big as they come, and even though it would have been nice if as much attention was given to the story as to the effects, it’s hard to squabble. You’ll be blown through the back of the theater, and sometimes that’s more than enough.

3/5 stars