Mythic mayhem resumes in Wrath of the Titans
There aren’t many pleasures in “Wrath of the Titans,” the 3-D sequel to the 2010 “Clash of the Titans” remake. But surely one is seeing Ralph Fiennes and Liam Neeson bounding around together as brothers, the gods Hades and Zeus.
??˝ (out of five stars)
Director: Jonathan Liebesman
Cast: Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Rosamund Pike
Rated: PG-13 for intense sequences of fantasy violence and action
Running time: 1 hour, 39 minutes
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In long beards, the two veteran actors are suited to one another, like a divine ZZ Top.
Camp is a part of the experience here, as both “Titans” films pull from an unlikely combination of traditions — ancient Greece and the 1980s. The clunky “Clash of the Titans” remade the 1981 original, bringing in boatloads of box office by updating the schmaltzy Laurence Olivier version with contemporary digital effects and a widely decried, slapped-on conversion to 3-D.
“Wrath of the Titans,” directed by Jonathan Liebesman taking over for Louis Leterrier, has modestly improved upon the 3-D this time around and better manages a narrative flow of continuous fantasy action.
But that’s also all there is, a charmless stream of battle and fight sequences that contorts mythic characters into blockbuster conventions.
It’s only in the last few minutes that the film even tries to slide emotion into the characters’ relations, as if attempting to hypnotize us before leaving the theater.
Rather than yet more Kraken releasing, “Wrath of the Titans” charts new ground for the demigod Perseus (Sam Worthington).
Perseus is living humbly as a fisherman despite his Kraken-squelching fame. He has sworn off the aging, selfish gods, such as his father Zeus and uncle Poseidon (Danny Huston).
But Hades has made a deal in the underworld dungeon of Tartarus to betray Zeus and siphon his powers to Kronos, their dormant father with whom all of hell will follow.
Curiously, when Kronos, like the Kraken before him, is finally released, he turns out to not be human in appearance like the other gods, but a giant swirl of fiery black smoke. Let’s call him Smog Man.
Father-son issues run everywhere. Conspiring with Hades is Zeus’ son Ares (Edgar Ramirez).
Perseus takes up the mantle of world-saver again for the sake of his young boy.
He’s joined by Queen Andromeda (Rosamund Pike) and a fellow demigod Agenor (Toby Kebbell, the presumptive comic relief), son of Poseidon.