Wrath of the Titans | Movies | Palo Alto Online |

Movie Review

Wrath of the Titans

Wrath of the Titans
Sam Worthington (left) and Liam Neeson in "Wrath of the Titans"

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Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of fantasy action and intense sequences of fantasy violence. 1 hour, 39 minutes.
Publication date: Mar. 30, 2012
Review by Tyler Hanley
Released: (2012)

The spectacle season is upon us. And while "Wrath of the Titans" may not be escapist fantasy entertainment at its finest (that distinction belongs to "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy), the film's strong cast and striking visuals make for a thrilling theatrical ride.

A follow-up to 2010's "Clash of the Titans" (which was a remake of the 1981 cult classic starring Harry Hamlin), "Wrath" finds the heroic Perseus (Sam Worthington) enjoying the quiet life of a humble fisherman alongside his only son, Helius (John Bell). An ominous visit from Perseus' immortal father, Zeus (Liam Neeson), has Perseus on edge. Zeus warns Perseus that the power of the gods is diminishing and monstrous threats to mankind will soon be rearing their ugly heads (literally).

Perseus is quickly forced to toss his fisherman's net in favor of a sword and shield as a vicious, fire-breathing beast rips through the village and nearly tramples Helius. Meanwhile, Zeus, sea god Poseidon (Danny Huston) and war god Ares (Edgar Ramirez) head to the underworld in hopes of convincing Hades (Ralph Fiennes) to help them buckle up for some tumultuous times ahead. But Ares and Hades have surreptitious plans of their own, and Zeus and Poseidon don't exactly fit in with their lofty aspirations.

With Zeus and Poseidon sidelined, it's up to Perseus to save the day. He hops aboard his trusty black Pegasus and hooks up with the warrior queen Andromeda (Rosamund Pike) and quirky Agenor (Toby Kebbell), another half-man, half-god like Perseus (Agenor's father is Poseidon). Together the trio sets off for the underworld in hopes of freeing the captured Zeus, bumping into three ornery Cyclops and oddball weapons maker Hephaestus (the always entertaining Bill Nighy) along the way.

Worthington seems to have matured as an actor and is more engaging here than in previous roles. Kebbell ("War Horse") threatens to steal the show with his playful performance and gives the film a needed comedic element. The scenes involving Neeson and Fiennes are especially impressive from a thespian standpoint. The two veteran actors are masters of their craft and they share an easy chemistry that transcends the cornucopia of visual effects that surrounds them. Ramirez, however, never really embraces what could have been a really fun role as the "god of war" and seems out of place.

Although the visual effects are impressive (and 3D serves the movie well, unlike with "Clash"), there are times where the sensory barrage overwhelms the audience, such as during the film's climax featuring the mad god Kronos (basically a giant lava monster). But "Wrath" is a cinematic treat for fantasy enthusiasts (I'll admit I'm a card-carrying member) and for those who appreciate Greek mythology. Fans of 1981's "Clash" need not fret -- the endearing mechanical owl Bubo makes another entertaining cameo.

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