Much like its Greek mythological source material Wrath of the Titans is light on dramatic characterization sticking to blunt moral lessons and fantastical battles to tell its epic tale. That's perfectly acceptable for its 100 minute run time in which director Jonathan Liebesman (Battle: Los Angeles) unleashes an eclectic hoard of monsters upon his gruff demigod hero Perseus. The creature design is jagged gnarly and exaggerated not unlike a twelve-year-old's sugar high-induced crayon creations — which is perfect as Wrath is tailor made to entertain and enamor that slice of the population.
Clash of the Titans star Sam Worthington once again slips on the sandals to take on a not-quite-based-on-a-myth adventure a mission that pits Perseus against the greatest force in the universe: Kronos formally-incarcerated father of the Gods. A few years after his last adventure Perseus is grieving for his deceased wife and caring for their lone son but a visit from Zeus (Liam Neeson) alerts the warrior to a task even more urgent than his current seabass fishing gig. Irked that the whole Kraken thing didn't work out Hades (Ralph Fiennes) with the help of Zeus' disaffected son Ares (Edgar Ramirez) is preparing to unleash Kronos — and only Perseus has the required machismo to stop him. But Perseus enjoys the simple life and brushes off Zeus forcing the head deity to take matters into his own hands…just as Hades and Ares planned. The diabolical duo capture Zeus and having no one else to turn to Perseus proceeds into battle.
The actual reasoning for all the goings on in Wrath of the Titans tend to drift into the mystical realm of convolution but the ensemble and Liebesman's visual visceral directing techniques keep the messy script speeding along. As soon as one starts wondering why Perseus would ever need to hook up with battle-ready Andromeda (Rosamund Pike) or Poseiden's navigator son Agenor (Toby Kebbell) Liebesman and writers Dan Mazeu and David Johnson throw in another bombastic set piece another three-headed four-armed 10 000-fanged monstrosity on screen. Perseus' journey pits him against a fire-breathing Chimera a set of Cyclopses a shifting labyrinth (complete with Minotaur) and all the dangers that come with Hell itself. The sequences have all the suspense of an action figure sandbox brawl but on a towering IMAX screen they're geeky fun. If only the filler material was a bit more logical and interesting the final product would be the slightest bit memorable.
Liebesman reaps the best performances he possibly can from Wrath's silly formula Worthington again proves himself a charismatic underrated leading man. As the main trio of Gods Neeson Fiennes and Ramirez completely acknowledge how goofy shooting lightning bolts out of their hands must look on screen but they own it with campy fun tones. But the film's overwhelming CG spectacle suffocates the glimmer of great acting opting for slice-and-dice battle scenes over ridiculous (and fun) epic speak nonsense. If a movie has Liam Neeson as the top God it shouldn't chain him up in molten lava shackles for a majority of the time.
Wrath of the Titans is a non-offensive superhero movie treatment of classic heroes that feels more like an exercise in 3D monster modeling than filmmaking. Its 3D makeover never helps the creatures or Perseus pop turning Wrath into an even muddier affair than the single-planed alternative (although unlike Clash of the Titans you won't have 3D shaky-cam blur burned directly into your retinas). The movie reaches for that child sense of wonderment but instead cranks out a picture that may not even hold a child's attention.
Things continue to look good for the career of Jonathan Liebesman. After bursting onto the scene in 2003 with the sleeper horror hit Darkness Falls, he continued making audiences scream with The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning and the scarcely-screened The Killing Room. His next film, the alien-invasion actioner Battle: Los Angeles (due March 11th 2011), is sure to be a helluva good time and the grand scale war sequences that he has conjured for it got him noticed by Warner Bros. Pictures, which has officially locked him into the director's chair on it's Clash Of The Titans sequel, says THR's Heat Vision.
It's not necessarily a new development (we reported on Liebesman's potential to helm the film on June 11th), but it does solidify the studio's plans to have the sequel ready for a 2012 release. There are no details regarding the plot of the project, but this is what we know: Clash 2 will be shot in 3D, which will undoubtedly improve on the migraine-inducing dimensional display that the first film subjected upon moviegoers. Aside from the negative criticism that the Louis Leterrier-directed original garnered because of its painful post-production conversion to 3D, the film was also lambasted for it's hokey, amateurish dialogue (provided by Phil Hay, Matt Manfredi and Travis Beacham). This time around, Warner's has recruited some its top scribes including Greg Berlanti (Green Lantern, The Flash), Dan Mazeau (Johnny Quest) and David Leslie Johnson (Orphan, Red Riding Hood) to craft a story worthy of the mythology on which the film is based.
Other than that, we know only that Sam Worthington and Gemma Arterton are expected to reprise their roles for the sequel, but no other casting info exists. Hopefully Arterton's Io wil have a beefed up role in the new film because I felt that she drastically wasted in the first. I've got no complaints about Worthington - he is the action star of the next decade and handles the challenges of blockbuster filmmaking as good as any actor I've seen in recent years. I'm feeling much more confident about the sequel with the talent that is involved, but this development in no way guarantees a quality film. Warner Bros. is arguably the best of the major studios in the business, but I strongly feel that they dropped the ball on Clash; I've got no choice but the remain skeptical until more information about the new project goes public.
Source: Heat Vision