Not so long ago, in the year 2010, a big budget action extravaganza made use of its Hollywood dollars to try to one up (at least technologically) an old school Ray Harryhausen production. The new Clash of the Titans remake once again pitted man against gods while finding time to release the Kraken. The thing is, Warner Bros. managed to completely botch the one area they were striving for most and the film still stands as the worst post-converted 3-D film yet.
See, back then, things were different and studios were quickly trying to cash in on this new 3-D advancement taking place. While I am still in a huge minority that actually didn’t mind Clash of the Titans, now whether anyone asked for it or not, Sam Worthington returns as Perseus (while continuing to squeeze the most out of his turn in the limelight) in Wrath of the Titans.
This time around, Perseus is trying to live out a quiet existence amongst the humans (he is the Demigod son of Zeus after all), mourning his wife while spending as much time as he can teaching his own son Helius (John Bell) how to fish. It’s not long before Zeus (Liam Neeson) visits Perseus to tell him that a calamity is coming. Humans have stopped praying to the Gods and they are losing their powers. Soon enough, the plot kicks into gear as Zeus joins his brothers Poseidon (Danny Huston), Ares (Edgar Ramirez), and Hades (Ralph Fiennes) in Tartarus.
It turns out that Ares and Hades are plotting against the humans to unleash their father, Kronos, from Tartarus upon the humans after making them face the wrath of the likes of the chimeras just to start things off with the right bang. Now Perseus must find Andromeda (Rosamund Pike), who has custody of Poseidon’s own son, Agenor (the hilarious Toby Kebbell), to lead them all in search of The Fallen One, Hephaestus (the even more hilarious Bill Nighy), who gives them a map to get through his own labyrinth that is Tartarus (he built the thing after all), to try to save Zeus and put an end to Kronos once and for all. Phew!
While it may sound convoluted, it whisks by at a near breakneck pace. Pacing was another of many major faults of Clash. But the real question Warner Bros. is expected to answer with this film has nothing to do with plot or acting; what audiences are going to be wondering about is whether Warner Bros. has made a 3-D film worth spending the extra money on, or if once again, they figured out another way to botch their efforts. And the answer is thankfully that the film stands head and shoulders above its predecessor in almost every way.
Director Jonathan Liebesman and screenwriters, Dan Mazeau and David Johnson, finally deliver the epic battle that should have happened last time around. Special kudos go to writers Mazeau and Johnson for slipping in some much needed humor into the proceedings, something else Clash was sorely missing.
Worthington makes up a fine hero with his Perseus, it makes me wonder if he just needs to be allowed to use his accent more to help make him the star Hollywood so desperately wants him to be. While Neeson and Fiennes are always fun to watch, particularly towards the end when Neeson gets a moment to go Qui-Gon on some titans. And while I’ve never been a big fan of director Jonathan Liebesman, he’s come a long way from the likes of Darkness Falls, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning, and Battle Los Angeles, and has finally made an entire film I can get behind (I liked the first half of Battle Los Angeles before the boring and dumb second half showed up). I have to say, I fully enjoyed myself with Wrath of the Titans. It never takes itself as seriously as the first one did and even throws a few jabs at itself while making up for the lackluster 3-D that ruined the first.
Photos courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures