Like a plague sent by god himself, 2010’s ‘Clash of the Titans’ was rotten, but it is my pleasure to report that ‘Wrath of the Titans’ is a much improved affair which betters the original in nearly every way.
Demi-god Perseus (Sam Worthington) returns to do more Titan battling as the power of the gods is failing now that humans are no longer praying. All manner of unspeakable creatures are set to escape from hellish prison Tartarus, as the waning gods can no longer keep them banged up. Banished to the underworld after events of ‘Clash’ dark god Hades (Ralph Fiennes) has been promised permanent immortality by all powerful inmate number one; Titan, Kronos – if he frees him from his imprisonment; but first he must kidnap Zeus (Liam Neeson) as only with his power can Kronos break free. Hades is aided by unloved other son Ares (Edgar Ramirez), the formidable god of war, who has grown jealous of the attention lesser son Perseus has got from daddy Zeus.
As bad as ‘Clash’ was it made a massive pile of cash grossing nearly $500million, so a sequel was always on the cards, and happily ‘Wrath’ fixes many of the flaws of the 2010 original, CG is improved, the 3D effects are (slightly) better, and the film is better paced throughout.
Worthington is far more heroic (without the shaven head this time), as Perseus struggles to accept his divine calling and his commitment to lead a humble human life, while Neeson and Fiennes get far more screen time. Much more effort is given to develop and rebuild their godly brotherly love and the film benefits as a result, with both providing far more gravitas to proceedings.
Edgar Ramirez also puts in a decent turn as Ares, the put-out sibling who is genuinely evil and unrelenting as you might expect from The God of War.
Bill Nighy as Fallen god Hephaestus provides some curious laughter, albeit with a misplaced ‘naaarthern’ accent.
Rosamund Pike’s now warrior queen Andromeda is far better utilised and is very much a part of proceedings.
Humour is natural and subtle and Worthington delivers just the appropriate amount of quips without overdoing it, as Tobey Kebbell’s Agenor provides much of the charismatic, roguish laughs.
Thankfully most of the humour gives way to improved characterisation and story development, something that was almost completely absent in ‘Clash’. Father and son and paralleling brotherly relationships add slightly more emotion to events and ‘Wrath’ is better for it, as more importance is given to the peril unfolding. While it may not win any Oscars, you can care a little more than you did before.
‘Wrath’ has many highlights, Perseus’ spectacular trial through the twisting, turning labyrinth provides the films best use of 3D and the climatic unfurling of Kronos provides a grand scale of battle, as the titanic beast unleashes its power across a vast landscape, forcing the original godly brothers Zeus and Hades to take us through their full repertoire of heavenly battle powers.
‘Wrath of the Titans’ is still not perfect, we don’t see enough of the awesome Kronos and many of the legendary creatures could have been given far more time, notably an all to brief Minotaur encounter.
The post production stick on 3D is a little better than in ‘Clash’, it works for some of the movies super scale battles, but confuses and becomes cluttered when there is too much going on at once.
With only a 99 minute runtime, many of the neglected elements could have had better attention served.
Even though ‘Wrath of the Titans’ is an undoubted improvement on ‘Clash’ there is still a sense that there was much more that could have been done to make a truly epic tale, with such a potentially brilliant godly story to go at, the ‘Titans’ saga should be rivalling other fantasy epics. Perhaps an inevitable third offering could continue the improving trend of ‘Wrath’ and provide an instalment that may finally shake the heavens.
Better than ‘Clash’ with plenty to go and take a look at – 7.5/10!
Wrath of the Titans is in cinemas now