I remember feeling a certain amount of wrath over the ham-handed 3-D effects in 2010’s Clash of the Titans, but the film itself wasn’t bad: uneven, to be sure, but strengthened by adhering to the story template of the 1981 movie of the same name, written by Beverley Cross. If I were 12 years old I would have loved it.
I tried to summon my inner 12-year-old for this sequel, but even kids might object to the subversion of Greek mythology presented here…starting with the premise that the Gods of Olympus are losing their powers. That’s why Zeus (played again by Liam Neeson) asks his half-human son Perseus (Sam Worthington) for his help to keep the dark forces from taking over. Those forces are represented by Hades (a returning Ralph Fiennes) and his nasty son Ares (Édgar Ramírez), not to mention Kronos, the father of Zeus and Hades.
Perseus is trying to live a quiet life as a fisherman and raise his son Helius in peace, but he eventually realizes that he has no choice in the matter. His allies include the warrior queen Andromeda (Rosamund Pike) and what passes for a comic-relief character, Agenor (Toby Kebbell). But the script, by Dan Mazeau and David Leslie Johnson (from a story they conceived with Greg Berlanti) draws these characters so superficially they don’t make any impression on us. Goodness knows, Wrath of the Titans could use some relief from its grim-faced gravitas now and then. After all, this is a movie about heroes battling monsters.
The problem with a film that uses CGI as a substitute for good writing is that virtually every picture that comes along nowadays has impressive visual effects; this has leveled the playing field, to say the least. (The same is true for this movie’s unremarkable use of 3-D.) Director Jonathan Liebesman can only do so much with the script he was given, and the same is true of the talented actors. Without full-blooded characters to drive the story, Wrath of the Titans is just a lot of sound and fury, signifying nothing.