‘Clash of the Titans’ (2010) was about the demigod Perseus (Sam Worthington), sired by Zeus (Liam Neeson), finding his powers and having to save humanity from his cranky uncle Hades (Ralph Fiennes) who “unleashed the Kraken” to eat poor Princess Andromeda (Rosamund Pike). Why? Because humans had gotten uppity and decided they didn’t need to worship the gods any more. Rather than a logical story, however, Clash was more characterized by goofy inconsistencies masked by generally great special effects.
‘Wrath of the Titans’ is more of the same, but this time there are a lot more men involved and the film revolves around a confusing mishmash of father/son and spurned/favorite brother themes. Let’s see if I can get this straight. Zeus, Hades and Poseidon (Danny Huston) are estranged because Zeus banished Hades to the underworld. Their Dad, Kronos, is trapped in the middle of Tartarus, a ridiculously complex prison also stuck in the underworld. Zeus has two sons: Perseus and Ares (Edgar Ramirez), who really don’t like each other because Ares is convinced Perseus is Dad’s favorite. Perseus also has his own son, Helius (John Bell), who doesn’t know about any of his Godly relatives and lives with his Dad in a fishing village.
Kronos has been conspiring with Hades and Ares, however, and when he threatens to break out of Tartarus Zeus and Poseidon pop down to the underworld to implore them to leave those nice humans alone. Not a good move, especially after Zeus visits his son Perseus en route and finds he’d rather catch fish than fight really angry Gods. Go figure.
The holiday down under doesn’t turn out very well for Zeus and Perseus is soon caught up in the quest to both rescue his father and stop his grandfather (Kronos, in case you aren’t following) from destroying humanity and, of course, his cute tween son Helius.
If you’re getting the impression that the story is a complicated mess, you’d be right. There are a lot of men in this film who seem more focused on their relationship with their male relatives than anything Godly or worldly. There’s a token woman in the film, Andromeda, but while she’s beautiful, she’s mortal and Perseus already spurned her at the end of ‘Clash of the Titans’. Still, she seems to have one god-like power: an always clean face. Even at the end of the film where the men are all dirty and blood-spattered, she finds time between scenes to remove the artfully drizzled dirt from her face so that she’s fresh and perky for the final scene. Our girl Andromeda could make some serious coin if she could bottle up that secret power and sell it through Target. You go, girl!
Somewhere on the journey to Tartarus to free Zeus, Perseus, Andromeda (looking clean, as usual) and Poseidon’s demigod son and wanna be standup comedian Argenor (Toby Kebbell), encounter a massive labyrinth that’s best described as what Hogwarts would look like if it were located in the middle of Mount Doom. Well, let’s sprinkle a little of the visual inspiration of the weird horror indie ‘Cube’ (1997) to the mix.
To be fair, the visual effects are generally very well done and the 3D was effective and looked like it was integral to the production of the movie, unlike the ghastly 3D slapped onto ‘Clash’ to pull in some extra bucks. Still, there are notable hiccups, including every single time Perseus is flying on Pegasus: those scenes looked exactly like they were a cheaply rendered computer graphics overlay on a neutral background.
With a film built around father/son relationship tension, it’s no surprise that the final resolution is generally for all the men to find peace with their fathers and sons. Well, except for Kronos, who isn’t even vaguely human, and, um, the men who die. Still, it ends with the comment that Man no longer need the Gods, so perhaps there won’t be a third installment and the Titans can finally have a nice holiday on a tropical island and figure out how to be less angry all the time.
That works for me. ‘Beach Blanket Bingo of the Titans’. Yep, maybe that’s next.