Wrath of the Titans * * 1/2

Genre: Action

Director: Jonathan Liebesman

Writers: Dan Mazeau, David Johnson, Greg Berlanti

Cast: Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Rosamund Pike, Edgar Ramirez, Bill Nighy, Danny Huston

Running Length: 100 minutes

Synopsis: A decade after his heroic defeat of the monstrous Kraken, Perseus (Sam Worthington) – the demigod son of Zeus (Liam Neeson) – is attempting to live a quieter life as a village fisherman and the sole parent to his 10-year old son, Helius. Meanwhile, a struggle for supremacy rages between the gods and the Titans. Dangerously weakened by humanity's lack of devotion, the gods are losing control of the imprisoned Titans and their ferocious leader, Kronos, father of the long-ruling brothers Zeus, Hades (Ralph Fiennes) and Poseidon. Perseus cannot ignore his true calling when Hades, along with Zeus' godly son, Ares (Edgar Ramírez), switch loyalty and make a deal with Kronos to capture Zeus. The Titans' strength grows stronger as Zeus' remaining godly powers are siphoned…

Review: Few films in recent memory have benefitted from lowered expectations like Wrath of the Titans has – after all, its predecessor was a pretty terrible mess, from the clunky dialogue to the awful tacked on “3D” (the most 3D aspect being the Mandarin subtitles), and it really wouldn’t take much to improve upon that travesty of a remake. This time round, the story comes with much less baggage, and despite another post production 3D conversion, looks far better than the first film. That’s not to say that Wrath of the Titans is a masterpiece, but at least it’s much less painful to sit through, with a number of decent action set pieces, and the injection of much-need levity into the proceedings. It also helps to view this film on as large a screen as possible (IMAX 3D being the most ideal), as it amplifies the cinematic experience and makes the film’s flaws more tolerable.

And there’s no shortage of things to pick on in Wrath of the Titans, if one is inclined to do so. The dialogue is painfully clunky, with characters often delivering dialogue solely for exposition’s sake, and the script borders on incoherence very often. The production team does seem to be aware of that, and occasionally poke fun at themselves (at one point, one character tells another to “avoid the big speech”), which makes it a little more tolerable. There’s also a lot of soap opera going on for an action movie, and these exclusively male, uncomfortably melodramatic scenes really weigh down the narrative.

Still, the film largely looks good, and the action sequences are quite impressively choreographed, with the most memorable not being the climactic showdown, but rather a “smaller” scene involving a number of Cyclops and the lead characters. Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes bring higher quality acting and gravitas to the table, while an almost unrecognizable Bill Nighy steals the show with his high energy portrayal of Hephaestus. Action junkies should still leave the cinema feeling sated, but here’s hoping that if there’s a third film in the franchise, that it would be a higher quality production all round.   

Rating: * * ½ (out of four stars)

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