Many times people will call a film a ‘mess’ citing a convoluted plot or an inconsistant tone as the main culprit. When I say that Wrath of the Titans is a mess, I mean that while the plot is straightforward, I still had trouble figuring out what exactly was happening on the screen before me. This is not because the film proferred a rich, dense mythology that there wasn’t time to soak up. Rather it is because I literally had no idea why certain events were happening, or who anyone was other than the few main characters.
Yet despite the lack of reason accompanying some events, the plot of this film is a god-send after the disastrous jumble of its predecessor. Ares (Edgar Ramirez) and Hades (Ralph Fiennes) team up and betray the other gods, namely Zeus (Liam Neeson), and revive Kronos, the big daddy Titan. It then falls to Perseus, (Sam Worhington) and his comrades Andromeda (Rosamund Pike) and Agenor (Toby Kebbel), to assemble three god weapons (think Poseidon’s trident) and create one super weapon to save mankind.
Honestly, everything else that happens in Wrath is superfluous, including the assembly of Andromeda’s useless army whose sole task at the end of the film is to keep Kronos and the Titans at bay as long as possible. You should read that as “Operation: Human Shield.” There’s also a labyrinth that our heroes navigate through the under-world, and an odd mini-battle with two cyclops. These events never feel like a means to an end, but rather a clumsy stab at generating suspense.
Even during the film’s finale I never felt the world-ending stakes the way I should have. Worthington in the lead role also does little to alleviate the problem. Myths are written so it’s basically impossible to dislike the hero, but I was so unenthused by Worthington’s performance, I actually didn’t care if Kronos consumed his body in fire and ash. I’m sure he had his reasons.
The only two good performances come courtesy of Toby Kebbel, providing some light comic relief as Agenor, and Bill Nighy’s fun take on Hephaestus, the godly weapons maker. Even Neeson’s presence is not enough to keep me interested. The film’s lone impressive accomplishment is how utterly bored I was through the hour and a half running time.
While many people may have had similar complaints about last fall’s Immortals, you have to credit Tarsem Singh for at least directing his Titan tale with a sense of style. Wrath has no panache, which is the exact adjective a sword-and-sandal film needs. Seriously, avoid this one.
Wrath of the Titans is now playing in Philly-area theaters.