out of Five
Running time: 99
Enjoyable sequel that improves considerably on the original film thanks to some terrific special effects and strong performances, but it's let down by some poorly directed fight sequences, a patchy script and some pacing issues in the middle section.
What's it all about?
Directed by Jonathan Liebesman, Wrath of the Titans (3D) is the sequel to 2010's Clash of the Titans. Set ten years after the events of the previous film, Wrath finds demigod Perseus (Sam Worthington) trying to raise his young son Helius (John Bell) and live a normal, non-godlike life as a fisherman, following the death of his wife.
However, when Perseus' father Zeus is captured and held prisoner in the Underworld, Perseus embarks on a dangerous quest to rescue him, aided by Poseidon's demigod son Agenor (Toby Kebbel) and warrior queen Andromeda (Rosamund Pike, looking mighty fetching in a gladiator skirt). Meanwhile, Zeus' godly son Ares (Edgar Ramirez) plots with Hades (Ralph Fiennes) to siphon off Zeus' power and unleash the mighty Kronos (a sort of living volcano) to destroy the world.
In terms of the effects, Wrath of the Titans is a vast improvement on the previous film, rather than being landed with a shockingly poor post-production rush-job like its predecessor was. Similarly, the creature effects on Kronos are magnificent, resulting in a genuinely thrilling, spectacular finale.
The performances are slightly better this time round too – Worthington is still a bit wooden but he's sanded the edges down a bit to the point where it works to his advantage. Similarly, Fiennes is excellent as Hades and makes a good double-act with Neeson, who gets better lines than just “Release the Kraken!” this time round, while Kebbel effortlessly steals every scene he's in as chatty chancer Agenor.
The main problem with the film is that the fight scenes between the actors are choppily edited and frequently boring, since they mostly consist of two people repeatedly smashing into each other, with no sense of pain or jeopardy. There are also some frustrating lapses, such as the labyrinth sequence, which should be a thrilling central set piece but is poorly paced and badly laid out, while the Minotaur fight scene feels quickly brushed over and doesn't really work. On top of that, the script is extremely patchy, occasionally with unintentionally laughable effect, such as the resolution to a non-existent romantic sub-plot that comes out of nowhere.
Despite its flaws, Wrath of the Titans is still a lot of fun, thanks to some stunning production design, state-of-the-art special effects and a handful of decent action sequences. And if you see it in 3D, make sure you see it in IMAX.