If it's crap ... We'll tell you
The recent reboot of the 1981 ‘classic’ ‘Clash of the Titans’ was pitiful at best. It boasted a horrendous screenplay with character depth that would make Michael Bay look like Spielberg. Its dialogue was dire, it’s acting atrocious – all of which could have been forgiven had its action been even somewhat memorable. It wasn’t, it was dull, trite and filmed so close it was impossible to enjoy even on the most basic of levels. The sequel to said reboot, ‘Wrath of the Titans’ is underwritten, horribly acted – but it boasts some of the tightest most impressive actions set pieces of the year so far. It’s a bad film don’t get me wrong...but it’s a sublimely bad film.
The epic battle between the Titans and the gods continues in this sequel set ten years after the events in Clash of the Titans, as Perseus (Sam Worthington) descends into the underworld on a mission to rescue Zeus from the clutches of Hades (Ralph Fiennes), Ares (Edgar Ramirez), and Kronos. In the wake of his decisive victory against the Kraken, Perseus has retreated to a remote fishing village to raise his young son, Helius. Meanwhile, humanity has lost faith in the gods. As a result, Zeus, Hades, and Poseidon find their power beginning to slip, a development that could spell disaster for all of humankind should their imprisoned father, Kronos, manage to break free from his underworld prison in Tartarus. When Perseus learns that Zeus' son Ares has teamed with Hades and Kronos to capture Zeus, steal his power, and create hell on Earth, the time comes to take action. Now, with Andromeda (Rosamund Pike), Argenor (Toby Kebbell), and Hephaestus (Bill Nighy) by his side, brave Perseus will venture deep into the underworld on a mission to defeat the Titans, deliver Zeus from evil, and prevent the powers of darkness from consuming all of humanity.
I just laid down the ‘plot’ for this movie, and while I’m sure that’s in some ways accurate. I can’t tell you what the fuck is going on in this film. Enter generic Greek name here, enter monster from mythology here, blow up shit real good here. That’s all you need to know. ‘Wrath’ is unrepentant about how dumb and bare bones its ‘plot’ is. While for the most part story takes a back seat to stunning set pieces, in odd occasion the writers attempt to inject some genuine ‘writing’ in there. And by this point in my review I think I’ve reached my limit on ‘quotey marks’. The plot is awful, the dialogue trash and it’s absolutely cringe worthy any time they attempt to make any form of joke. If there were any area of ‘Wrath’ I couldn’t argue with you on, it’s how horrible the story is.
‘Wrath of the Titans’ is a film littered with brilliant actors, who are all support for the awful actors that dominate the lead roles. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. Sam Worthington is the blandest, least charismatic actor this side of Michael Cera. It’s painful watching him try to emote anything other than sheer manliness. Rosamund Pike is an actress with a substantial fan base who I have never truly understood. She’s far from the worst actor here, no that award still goes to our Mr Worthington, but she’s far from memorable. If I were to give the film any credit – ‘Clash of the Titans’ severely underused Nesson and Fiennes, two of the most renound actors of all time. Here their given a lot more to do and to good effect. Its touching to see them interact and they provide some much needed acting prowess.
Ever since he incredibly effective short ‘Rings’ I have been a champion of Jonathan Liebesman - only to be disappointed, two lackluster horror movies later and he shows his true eye is for the action flick. He films scenes with the skill of a master, and while the script is not up to par, his direction is fluid and professional. Unlike its predecessor, Liebesman knows when to pull the camera back allowing you to see the full sequence in all its glory. It’s nicely done, and it makes me wish the other elements of the film were up to scratch.
The film looks and sounds stunning, the first was ultimately hit and miss with a lot of the effects looking brilliant while others looked drab and dated. Here everything is up to scratch. The environments are sumptuous and the creatures look genuinely frightening. One scene in particular where our heroes venture inside of a Labyrinth is incredibly impressive – reminding me a lot of the sci-fi classic ‘Cube’ in the depth of detail it goes into making its audience feel disoriented. The score it typically epic but nothing we haven’t heard before and the climactic final fight is a feast for the eyes. While in a sense this is nothing more than a 90 minute cut scene for a video game...it’s a damn impressive one.
Verdict: I will never, ever tell anybody that ‘Wrath of the Titans’ is a good film...it’s not even an average film. It’s bad, bordering on terrible. Had it not been for the stellar set pieces and fantastic action direction this review would have been scathing. A lot of people may get upset at the fact that I’m giving this the same rating as I did ‘The Hunger Games’ last week – I’m in no way saying this is a better movie, it’s flaws are obvious and if you came out hating it I would find it hard arguing against you; but I had fun, a lot of it. This is a film that in 30 years time will sit on my DVD shelf (or hologram shelf by that point) and be displayed proudly as a brilliantly bad B-movie, I wish this could have been a great movie with great action; but that’s not the movie they made. Liked a bat out of hell on a bad acid trip, ‘Wrath’ delivers where ‘Clash’ fell.
+ The action is so much fun, this is camp, over the top blockbuster stuff!
+ The sequence in the Labyrinth is one of my favorite action moments of recent memory.
+ The Effects are stunning.
- Any attempts at humor are lost completely.
- This is, for all intents and purposes, a terrible film.
See this if you enjoyed: Conan the Destroyer (1984), The Beastmaster (1982), Dragonslayer (1981)