Movie Review: ‘Wrath of the Titans’

April 15, 2012 Updated: October 1, 2015
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“Release the Kraken!” Some might argue that Oscar-winner Liam Neeson barking out that line was the best thing about “Clash of the Titans.” It had something. Talk-show hosts were saying it. A pizzeria in New York City that names its slices after various American pop-culture phenomena soon had a “Release the Kraken!” slice. Would that the sequel, the explosion-every-five-seconds snore-fest “Wrath of the Titans,” had such a line. “Wrath” will get no pizza slice.

Perseus (Sam Worthington), the star of “Clash,” is the half-god son of chief Greek god Zeus (Neeson). After all the hullaballoo of the last movie, Perseus has decided that he much prefers his human side and is quietly fishing and single-parenting.

However, much like the character William Wallace in “Braveheart,” he can’t get away with the simple life. Unbeknown to himself, he’s here on a mission. Destiny calls.

The Greek gods and the gods of the previous universe, the Titans, are having a power smackdown. People have stopped worshipping the Greek gods, which apparently makes them lose power, so they can’t keep the Titans locked up in the underworld much longer.

Zeus’s brother Hades (Ralph Fiennes), as well Zeus’s son Ares, the god of war (Edgar Ramirez), have sided with super-Titan Kronos (who’s actually Zeus and Hades’s dad), to overthrow Zeus and drain his superpowers to revive Kronos. Got all that? Just think of it as a family affair.

“Wrath of the Titans” is not about the original stories of the Greek gods and Titans; there’s much making up of stuff and borrowing and cutting and pasting. It’s inevitable. But the more mixing and matching and comparing and contrasting and combining and editing and stealing and deleting that goes on over time—the more the original messages get sullied.

Some lines and concepts ring true, and some don’t. A line like “Being half human makes you stronger than a god, not weaker,” can set off a sympathetic resonance in the soul. These kinds of things used to function in ancient Greek theater as human morality default reset buttons. But the more the messages get mixed, the less meaning they have.

Now, you have inconsistencies that border on silliness. For example, at one point in “Wrath,” Zeus innocently asks his brother Hades, who has him trussed up in a crucifixion-like manner, “What have I done to you?” Well, as it turns out, he was originally responsible for locking his brother in the underworld for all eternity. Hello!?!

As mentioned, the explosions and earthquakes and general mayhem start about 20 seconds into the movie and never let up. It’s audiovisual overkill, although one must give kudos to the overall look of the film (with the exception of Zeus’s beard) and the fairly decent CGI.

Combine this sensory overload with pseudo-mytho-speak storyline mash-ups, and you’ve got a Hollywood product that’ll probably bash some money out of teenage wallets. It’s showbiz after all. But, it should at least have something noteworthy. Something so bad it’s good. Something that gets a pizza slice named after it.

Follow Mark on Twitter: @FilmCriticEpoch