Much like the etymologically derived Titanic, this film started with a lot of promise but didn’t end well. The early scenes in which our demigod, Perseus (Sam Worthington), has his idyllic fishing village lifestyle cruelly disrupted by a fire-breathing, two-headed dog with dragon wings (think cheap Chinese meal nightmare) are exciting with some great use of tracking shots which combine well with the 3D. The bolted on 3D was one of the main criticisms of the first film but here they use it to good effect both for the in your face, jump in your seat moments as well as to just add some depth to the landscapes. Back to Perseus, creature dismissed, he heads to the temple of idols to contemplate this new disruption to his life.
Since the first film we learn that Perseus has become a father but that his wife Io has passed away. As you would expect Perseus is very protective over his son, Helius, and would have loved to while away the days catching fish with him, but that is never going to be a ratings winner.
The problem is, that as the humans have turned their back on the gods, this has reduced the Titans power and their immortality is at risk. Now for Perseus’ father Zeus (Liam Neeson) this isn’t a big deal but his uncle Hades (Ralph Fiennes) thinks it will be a cold day in Hell before he accepts death. To this end Hades enlists Zeus’ unloved son Ares (Edgar Ramirez) and does a deal to free his own Titan father Cronus (who he and his brothers locked in a prison in the underworld) to be able to stay up late, well ok forever, if he gives up the last of the power that he, Zeus and Poseidon (Danny Huston) have. With the help of Ares he tricks Zeus into capture, but an immortally wounded (don’t ask) Poseidon escapes.
Poseidon’s last task is to visit Perseus in the temple to tell him about his father’s capture and what the consequences of doing nothing will be (not good). Before he passes away he is also able to tell him of his own demigod son, Agenor (Toby Kebball), who should be able to assist him in his quest to save the world from Cronus. Armed with Poseidon’s trident he accepts that never leaving his son, although admirable, is not practical if the world is going to end and heads off to find Poseidon’s son.
Agenor turns out to be quite the comedic rogue with at least a couple of funny lines in the rest of the film. He is however not only lacking in some confidence but is also currently imprisoned by queen Andromeda (Rosamund Pike) as a lowly thief so Perseus has some work to do if he is going to persuade them both to join him. You can’t help but feel that no matter how much grit they throw at Rosamund she is always going to look more at home in a period drama than on the battle field but to be fair to her she does a good job of trying to convince us otherwise.
Along the way they pick up a fallen god in the shape of Hephaestus (Bill Nighy) who is rather subdued for one of his performances but does add some light relief. The issue for me is that this film is clearly meant to be an epic but there is no sense of elapsed time. As such you feel like they wrap it all up so quickly that they probably still have some free time to go and slay a dragon or find a ring. Take for example the labyrinth scene, a visual masterpiece of complexity which successfully creates some tension as to how will they master it. Well fear not, even with a map that doesn’t work they cover the impressive distance the labyrinth sprawls across in a jiffy.
It could be for this reason that you just do not seem to care enough about whether or not they complete their quest. The film is obviously trying to explore issues surrounding the different bonds a family creates, father to son, brother to brother, etc but other than creating initial tension in each situation it is often resolved far too easily. Having said that, this is a fantasy action film and maybe it is just too much to ask of it.
Wrath of the Titans is in cinemas 30th Marc h 2012.
Director: Jonathan Liebesman
Stars: Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson, Toby Kebbell, Bill Nighy, Rosamund Pike
Runtime: 99 min