Wrath Of The Titans Review: Mildly Put Out

On General Release Friday 30th April

Given that Clash Of The Titans was an unmitigated disaster – a shallow, poorly realised and horribly ugly affair – made triply worse by a terrible post-production 3D conversion job which made it look like soldiers were standing next to their own beards – Wrath Of The Titans has a lot of work to do in atonement.

Sadly, Wrath has failed to learn the lessons of its predecessor and falls foul of the same old traps, with poor characterisation and appalling dialogue eclipsed by ruddy great special effects.

It’s years after the events of Clash and Perseus (Sam Worthington) has settled down to be a fisherman with his son (John Bell).  But with few people praying, the gods are disappearing and losing their power and Hades (Fiennes) and Ares (Édgar Ramírez) have taken Zeus (Liam Neeson) hostage in order to use him to free the titans and their father Kronos. It’s up to Perseus and Queen Andromeda (Rosamund Pike) to save the world from ultimate destruction.

Well, it certainly looks fantastic.  There’s an immense sense of scale and the monsters look great – chimeras snarl and roar convincingly, cyclopes splinter trees like they’re toothpicks and big bad Kronos is a humongous magma monster so massive, he doesn’t just dwarf the landscape, he is the landscape.  All of that adds up to a rousingly enjoyable spectacle.

It’s just a shame that as before, all the attention has been lavished on the pretty graphics so that the storyline and script not so much take a backseat as ride forlornly in the boot.  So amid the chaos we have a large dysfunctional deific family trying to work out their issues –  Zeus trying to make up for years of bad parenting with a grumpy Perseus, Zeus trying to win over a fearful and disdainful Hades, Zeus trying to placate a seething Ares, Zeus fretting about his mortgage repayments…  It’s all terribly convoluted and not a little dull.

Meanwhile Perseus tries to square his duty to his son and his duty to saving the world and reunites with his half-brother, the son of Poseidon, Agenor (a Russell Brand-ish Toby Kebbell). But there’s no depth.  The dialogue is perfunctory at best and there’s a persistent feeling that the only reason anyone speaks at all is for a break before the next bit where something blows up.

It’s an all-male cast with the exception of Rosamund Pike who tries valiantly as the warrior queen Andromeda but with a role so small, she might as well not bother, relegated to being a pretty face whose sole duty is to shout “Charge!”   Thank goodness then for Ralph Fiennes who’s delightfully icy as Hades – all those years playing Voldemort must have done something to his soul – he’s a hugely enjoyable villain.

The whole world might be at stake but it says a lot when your audience finds it hard to care – screw “with great power comes great responsibility” – try “with no character comes no peril”.

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