Science fiction and fantasy

Wrath of the Titans poster

Wrath of the Titans

directed by Jonathan Liebesman

Perseus (Sam Worthington) has settled as a fisherman and has just buried his wife in this sequel to Clash of the Titans, set a decade after that film. He has a son who he's very devoted to, as we see when monsters come crashing through the village and he has to get his sword out to stop them, shouting for his son all the time.

But father-son relationships aren't all so genial amongst the gods. Perseus' father Zeus (Liam Neeson) comes round to warn his son about a war that has broken out amongst the gods and Titans. Kronos and his Titans are imprisoned in the Underworld, but they won't stay trapped. The gods' powers are waning because people are neglecting to pray to them. So some of them are thinking of switching sides, so they're on the winning team if the gods fall and the Titans take over. And of course there's the usual package of family rivalries and resentments to add fuel to the Olympian fire.

Perseus, being an all-round hero and deathly-dull good egg, sets out to save the world and defeat the Titans, even if it means travelling into Tartarus. As you might imagine, the story departs quite a lot from the established Greek myths at this point. On his journey Perseus teams up with Andromeda (Rosamund Pike), and the demigod Agenor (Toby Kebbell). Agenor, who also goes by The Navigator, is a rogue and a thief, apparently, as well as the son of Poseidon. I assume he's there for comic relief, because that's the tone of his dialogue. But his character is a bit flat, and not very amusing, although this has more to do with the script than Toby Kebbell's acting.

They also encounter Hephaestus (Bill Nighy), the tool-making god, who the heroes approach in the hope of some assistance with getting magical godly tools. I don't know whether he's supposed to be like some eccentric old professor, or maybe the gods' version of Q. But like Agenor, his character is uninspiring.

I don't remember the first time I saw a movie featuring a big puzzle made out of moving stone blocks. Perhaps it was in Indiana Jones, or Labyrinth? Whichever it was, it's a pretty worn-out image already. But this is a movie that crams in every fantastic beast it can get away with, and every hackneyed situation. No dangling woodland man-trap is left unsprung, no heavy stone door is not squeezed through at the last minute before everyone gets crushed, no lava-bottomed precipice remains unfought-over. This is not a romantic film. It's largely a film of sweaty men fighting and enormous monsters monstering, and there's no hint of a relationship brewing between the recently-bereaved Perseus and anyone else. The least suggestion of sexual tension is definitely not included. But the obligatory facemash at the end of the movie, as mandated by the Hollywood playbook, is in there nonetheless.

Mainly, however, this is a movie of flashes and bangs. Some of the gods talk briefly about their jealousies, and whether mortals are any good or not, and forgiveness. But all Kronos can manage is some incomprehensible grunting. There's a surfeit of fighting, and monsters, and explosions, but Wrath of the Titans is very thin. Screenwriters Dan Mazeau and David Leslie Johnson seem to have been aiming this at an audience who only care about action and spectacle, and for whom the story is irrelevant.

28th August 2013

2 star rating

Review ©

Film Details

Year of release: 2012

Categories: Films

Classification: 12

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