|March 30, 2012|
|Warner Bros. Pictures|
|Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of fantasy violence and action
|Wrath Of The Titans
” For those with a burning curiosity to know how The Lord of the Rings as directed by Michael Bay might look, Wrath of the Titans provides an idea.”
You could ask for more from this sequel to Clash of the Titans, but why would you want to? Wrath of the Titans succeeds in entertaining on the most basic of levels. Much like my affinity for the continuing Transformers franchise, Wrath engulfs you in Greek mythology lore while producing a grandiose visual experience with creatures and battles not available anywhere else.
One critic described the film as “how The Lord of the Rings as directed by Michael Bay might look”, and his review is spot on. The only difference between the reviewers intended meaning and my interpretation of that review is that I see that description as a positive. Sure, no one can deny Peter Jackson’s take on The Lord of the Rings is a masterpiece, but the world needs its Michael Bay interpretations as well. Greek lore is all about the characters and their battles. They are defined by their trials and tribulations. Wrath of the Titans delivers all the warfare without the long journeys to get there.
Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, and Danny Huston reprise their Clash of the Titans’ roles as the gods Zeus, Hades, and Poseidon, which helps this film immensely. All three men deliver great performances, with Ralph Fiennes continuing to be one of the greatest villainous actors of all-time. With the returning face of Sam Worthington as Perseus, Wrath of the Titans takes on a much grander appeal, not only matching back to the previous installment, but making the film feel worthy of being a big budget sequel.
The new faces also fit in perfectly. Toby Kebbell (Rock’N’Rolla, Sorcerer’s Apprentice) lends his talents as the high profile comic relief, never going for the easy jabs and remaining completely civil, adding the slightest bits of humor. Rosamund Pike is the sexy and powerful Queen Andromeda, who becomes the new love interest with Gemma Arterton out of the picture. Édgar Ramírez plays the newest villain, Ares, who steals the show with his performance as the god of war. And Bill Nighy delivers a predictably good performance as Hephaestus, the forger of the trident, pitch-fork, and lightning bolt.
Wrath of the Titans has several elements working in its favor. For one, none of the monsters from the first film are repeated, which keeps this film exciting and fresh. With new creatures comes new discovers and original battles. Many sequels will play off some of the same creatures and it comes off as a rehash of the original. In Wrath, only Pegasus, Perseus’ flying horse, returns, while we are introduced to new lethal creatures like the Chimera, the Cyclops, the Minotaur, and the Makhai.
We are also introduced to the infamous prison of the Underworld, Tartarus, where Zeus and Hades’ father, Kronos was forced for eternity. When Zeus is banished to this prison, Perseus must endure the hell, fire, and brimstone that comes with traveling to the underworld, as well as navigating through the shifting labyrinth designed by Hephaestus.
One of my favorite elements in Wrath of the Titans is the strategic construction of the battle scenes. Bash the poor writing all you want, but to build an effective battle is harder than any dialogue or plot device. Take the disaster of Spider-Man 3 for example. None of the battles in that film were built properly, thus leaving the film flaccid and weak. However, in Wrath of the Titans, the battle between brothers Perseus and Ares is built throughout the course of the film, with the audience knowing full-well that they will eventually fight to the death. The added notion that if anyone prays to the god of war, Ares, he will appear and fight them, makes his appearances unpredictable. Giving the audience small tastes of a fight to come is far better than blindsiding them with a one-and-done performance. Anticipation is what builds an epic battle.
As expected, the visual effects in Wrath of the Titans were superb. The cyclops tossing entire trees, the shifting rock walls of the labyrinth, and the pillar destruction between Perseus and Ares in their final fight are just a few examples of what the film accomplishes. Much like the previous film, Wrath is able to bring these unimaginable experiences to life on the grandest of scales.
So yes, Wrath of the Titans is like a Michael Bay directed action film, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Sure, we should expect the full-meal-deal when experiencing films, but what’s wrong with an action film that indulges us in visuals as long as it stays true to its characters and builds effective battle scenes. This is Greek mythology. Most audiences know their stories already. All we want to do is see those characters in action. Much like a child playing with their favorite action figures, they normally do not go into huge back stories or extensive character arcs while playing. They already have all those stories in their minds. What they want is to see those action figures “in action” and that is exactly what Wrath of the Titans does; supplies us with the “action” for the figures that we’ve already come to know.