In Home Viewings: "Wrath of the Titans"

Some years after Perseus (Sam Worthington) saved the human race from the fury of the gods, a new threat surfaces that requires Perseus’ attention. Hungry for redemption and revenge, Hades (Ralph Fiennes) and Ares (Edgar Ramirez) have struck a deal to free Kronas, the father of the gods, leading to the death of Poseidon (Danny Huston) and the capture of Zeus (Liam Neeson). But shockingly enough, Kronas isn’t quite as predictable as Hades thought he would be and soon the worlds of both men and gods is on the verge of destruction, it is left to Perseus and a small team of combatants to free Zeus and stop Kronas before it is too late.

I have stated many times before that the goal of most mainstream films, especially comedies and big action flicks, is simply to entertain and nothing more and that these films should be held to that standard and that standard alone. Meaning, it is unfair to bash on Wrath of the Titans because it does not aspire to be an Academy Award winning film. Sometimes, however, even I must violate this rule because otherwise, what in the name of Michael Bay would I write about this film otherwise?

All in all, Wrath of the Titans is one of the more rotten film experiences I’ve had this year. It trumps its predecessor, 2009’s Clash of the Titans, in only two ways. First, the visual presentation is much better. That’s not exactly saying a whole lot, though, given that the crude post-production transition to 3D displayed in the first film resulted in some of the worst visuals I have ever seen in an effects-driven film. It’s better this time around, though it’s far from noteworthy. Two, the “plot” is much less videogamey than the one presented in Clash, which basically moved from one enemy to the next for the entirety of the runtime as if the viewer was working through several levels of an early ‘90s arcade game. Wrath has designs on moving with more meaning, though it still fails to bring much to the table in terms of narrative.

In every other way, Wrathis worse, and sometimes significantly worse, than Clash. And let me remind you, Clashwas pretty stinking bad in its own right. Above all else, though, what Clash had at its core was a sense of fun. The action was cheesy but it was fun; the acting was weak but it was presented in a fun way; and the storyline was paper thin but it was still fun. This quality made the film come across as almost tongue-in-cheek, as if everyone involved was in on the joke, except Sam Worthington who may or may not understand jokes. Wrath is seriously lacking in the fun department and that bleeds away any enjoyment I or another viewer might be able to take from the film as a whole. I couldn’t decide whether Wrath took itself too seriously where Clash didn’t or if everyone involved just mailed it in but in the end I decided I just didn’t care, which is probably a sentiment shared by the actors and producers of the movie. The central plot seems half-baked and the exposition is truly painful. I found myself becoming depressed that so many great actors like Fiennes, Neeson, and Huston were being subjected to such a mess and convincing myself that each of them were offered so much money that they couldn’t turn it down.

More than anything else, though, the failure of Wrath boils down to the lead actor and his character. We could debate the merits of Worthington as an actor and I would say that while he has a bit of charisma and isn’t a complete hack, outside of The Debt (and Avatar, depending on how you feel about it) most of his films have been mediocre at best. My guess is that, given his relative inexperience, he’s a guy who needs a strong director and a worthwhile character in order to succeed, which he clearly does not have here. Simply put, Perseus sucks. He sucked in Clash but he sucks even worse here. He’s boring, he’s somewhat dumb and worst of all, he’s weak. I thought Perseus was kind of a beating in Clashbut he’s SO MUCH WORSE after a few years of sitting around, apparently doing nothing but fishing. Essentially what I’m saying is, if the survival of the human race is ever left to the defense of a guy like Perseus, all of us had better get right with God. He is completely and totally ineffective as a hero and whatever strengths Wrath might have had are stripped away by its basis on such a worthless character. Here’s hoping that this is the last film in an ill-conceived series.