Wrath of the Titans has the virtue of being the first big-budget Hollywood action extravaganza of this summer, and is completely dependent on balls-to-wall CGI. The follow up to 2010’s unintentionally hilarious but immensely profitable Clash of the Titans re-teams action figure Sam Worthington and Greek beasts, and it is still quite terrible, but in an endearing sort of way.
Director Jonathan Liebesman (Battle: Los Angeles) adds to Hollywood’s endless supply of sequels, and Wrath of the Titans actually qualifies as his best film to date. Intentional or not, the film plays like a ludicrous satire of Hollywood’s own sloppy, over budgeted, hammy productions, and is so over-the-top that it’s mildly fun. The story picks up a few years after the events of the previous film, and is as ridiculous as it can get. One day Perseus (Sam Worthington), now a single father, is visited by his dad Zeus (Liam Neeson). Zeus warns him that men have stopped praying, because of which the Gods are losing their power, and that Cronos, Hades (Ralph Fiennes) and Poseidon (Danny Huston) are conspiring to bring about the end of mankind. Perseus’ mission: to round up his men and enlist the help of Andromeda (Rosamund Pike) to save people from the wrath of the titans and prevent mankind’s extinction.
Along the way Perseus fights dozens of famous mythological beasts and the film is stuffed to the brim with a gigantic helping of visual badassery – there are Cyclopses, Chimeras, Minotaurs and whatnots - for those who like their action movies with gratuitous CGI and zero intellect, Wrath of the Titans delivers. Liebesman goes crazy with the fight scenes and the visual effects give new meaning to the word overload, with the non-stop green screen action lasting for a little more than 90 minutes. He throws everything that's wrong with Hollywood into Wrath of the Titans, and the effect is often that of guilty pleasure.
The 3D isn’t nearly as migraine inducing as in Clash of the Titans but is still jarring. It doesn’t help that the epic fight between the Minotaur and Perseus is shot in the dark with a shaky camera – reducing it to a frustrating mess. Also, not a single shot lasts more than five seconds – but that becomes helpful seeing as most of the actors here ham to the hilt. Rosamund Pike wears Miranda Otto’s costume from Lord of the Rings while Fiennes and Neeson try their best not to giggle through their dialogues. Edgar Ramirez fumbles along as Ares, teetering between being serious and silly while Bill Nighy as Hephaestus has his tongue firmly in his cheek. Action figure Sam Worthington, in his super solemn avatar and long locks comes across as a bizarro Danny McBride. Toby Kebbell as Agenor is fun but Cronos takes the entertainment cake here – a big improvement from the underwhelming Kraken sequence from the previous film.
Wrath of the Titans is much better than the preceding movie, it has enough CGI fun to make the campy story and acting tolerable. Director Liebesman is still a scourge on filmmaking but this movie shows that he's capable of at least minimal good.
(First published in Mid Day)