Right from the get-go, I want to say that, intentional or not, this movie feels like it seeks to dwarf “Immortals”, the other Greek mythology epic action flick released a few months ago, in every way. Both star handsome young actors playing the demigod son of Zeus, both involve villains trying to release some dangerous creatures from the underworld, principally Mount Tartarus. Whereas Mickey Rourke tried to release the Titans from a cage inside the Tartarus dungeon in “Immortals”, Ralph Fiennes and co. tried to release Kronos, the father of Zeus, Hades, and Poseidon, from a Tartarus prison that includes an enormous labyrinth and tons of lava in “Wrath of the Titans”. In the end, however, the two films have the commonality of making me think “is it really that hard to make a decent Greek mythology action film?”
Sam Worthington once again proves that he can be a charismatic action star that can’t act. Don’t get me wrong, his acting chops are miles ahead of Arnold or Stallone, but being best known for having starred almost exclusively in epic action films such as “Avatar”, “Terminator Salvation”, and “Clash of the Titans”, all Worthington has to do is look good while screaming “arrrrgh!” while firing a gun or wielding a sword.
I can’t say I took this movie seriously from the beginning. As it is a sequel to “Clash of the Titans” and not a reboot, I went into the theatre expecting swords and sandals cheese and I got it. With Johnathan Liebsman, who directed “Battle: Los Angeles”, on the helm this time, the non-stop action certainly makes it less boring.
The special effects are better utilized than that of “Clash”, as we see mythical monsters such as Minotaur, Kronos, and Chimera, come to life. But the grand battle scenes feel oddly underwhelming, as we don’t seem to see enough (CGI) troops on the side of the humans. If they decided to go all out on the special effects, go crazy like “Troy”, or get the perfect amount to generate the proper atmosphere like “Lord of the Rings”. But what we got on screen instead was a battle to save humanity between Kronos, the baddest of all bad-daddies, and a few thousand Greek soldiers.
The actors did what they could with the corny dialogue, and the audiences do not establish a real connection with any of the characters, even Perseus, the main protagonist. Thus, even though Zeus and Poseidon and others keep on reminding us that the end is near and everyone will die, we didn’t feel the impending doom. (When discussing this feeling, I always allude to “Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers”, which conveyed a sense of desperation that the audience experienced in a profound way.)
All in all, “Wrath of the Titans” is a decent film if you want to catch a corny action special effects flick. It is certainly better than its predecessor, but given the material and mythological figures at their disposal, they have lots of room for improvement if they were to make a third “Titans.”