Thursday, March 29, 2012

REVIEW - You won't see Wrath of the Titans coming

"Wrath of the Titans sets out to be a streamlined action/adventure romp and it, very surprisingly, succeeds. Though light on substance, it’s a vast improvement on its predecessor in every regard. If you are down for a good action flick, you'll get your money's worth by seeing it in theaters (in 3D even)!"


I just got back from my screening and well…uh…let's just say I was not expecting what I got. Before I go further; let’s travel back in time to last night when I watched Clash of the Titans, the 2010 remake: It sucked. The dialog was freaking horrible...and when it wasn't flat out bad, it was cheesy. The only redeeming qualities of that movie were the special effects and action scenes, and even a few of those where embarrassing. I wasn't expecting much to begin with, given all the bad reviews and word of mouth, but by the beard of Zeus was that bad. Fast forward to now and I find myself somewhat dumbfounded.

You might be asking yourself, as I did, "remember the days when sequels were only made for movies that a large amount of people found worthy of them? What happened to that?" Well, you see, did you know what I was think........anyways...When you look at the box office take for Clash, you'll get an idea: the movie cost $125 million to make and made $493 million worldwide. That's a good profit. So, given that Hollywood is clearly sequel crazy lately, they tend to jump at that. Though I think something else was at play here. I think Warner Brothers looked at the screenplay for Wrath of the Titans and said "wait...I think we might have something here" and I think they were right.

What we have here is a sequel worth watching to a movie that's not. And what's nice is that Wrath starts off by explaining the important events of the first film (to which there are few, so it's brief) and, in doing so, you can act like the first movie never really happened!

The plot is simple and goes a little something like this: The Gods are losing their strength due to a massive lack of worship and faith from the people. This causes them to start losing their ability to keep the Titans (the God’s creators and attempted destroyers) in captivity. If the Titans get loose they'll make everything go squish because they're a bunch of jerks, so Zeus goes to his demigod (half human, half god) son Perseus for help. Given that Perseus is half mortal he is unaffected by the loss of strength the gods are susceptible to, but he now has a son and is reluctant to help in the fight. Though, very soon thereafter, the threat of the Titans becomes too much to ignore, and some Gods infighting make things much worse, so he decides to try and save the day.

As I mentioned previously, this movie's plot isn't's not even that great, but that's not necessarily a bad thing as it’s not trying to be. It does what it needs to in order to support the action and keep the adventure moving forward to it's pretty obvious, but spectacle filled, conclusion. And, really, who’s going to this movie expecting a great story? It's about the action, and this movie delivers plenty of ass-kickery!

The special effects are excellent, the creatures are nasty, set pieces look great and some are pretty epic in scale, and the action sequences are intense (though never overly gruesome or bloody) eye candy. Not to mention, this movie is actually worth seeing in 3D! I know, I was shocked too. Things lunge, or are thrown, at the audience (though not to a nauseating degree), swirling dust and ash give a feeling of atmosphere, and the scenery is shot in a way that gives a great feeling of depth. Not to mention the scenes in a labyrinth of fast moving walls and pillars that threaten to crush the protagonists.It's all very cool.

Many of the same actors in Clash are back and bring more personality this time. Sam Worthington as Peruses is actually worth rooting for (by the way, what’s the deal with this guy? I can’t find anything really spectacular about him, yet he does a fine job in many films…strange). Liam Neeson is Zeus. I shouldn’t have to say anything further there because Liam is the man. Lord VoldemI MEAN Ralph Fiennes does sinister well as Hades. And special mention goes to the lesser known actor Toby Kebbell, who plays Agenor and serves up some great comedy relief without being overbearing.

Does the movie have great character depth and development? No. Does it have amazing dialog? Naw, brah! It’s very average in those departments (less than average in character development) and some of the dialog is cheesy to be sure, though it never dips into "horrible" territory. Also, while the characters aren’t that deep, the movie still manages to do a great job of having you care about, and rooting for, the right ones. There are even a few “…hell yeah!” moments as well as some good comedy relief without degrading the intended seriousness. I never found myself laughing at anything that wasn’t intended to be funny (very unlike Clash).

I'd consider Wrath a bit average for general movie goers, but if you love action you'll more than likely be able to look passed most of it's faults for an even more enjoyable time. It sets out to be a streamlined action/adventure romp and it, very surprisingly, succeeds. While light on substance, it’s a vast improvement on its predecessor in every regard. Action movie fans will get their money's worth by seeing it in theaters. Also, crazy as it sounds, it's worth seeing in 3D!

General audience score =7/10
Action movie fan score = 7.5/10

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