By Mark Olsen 2012-11-30

Tribune Newspapers Critic

1 1/2 stars

Did the ancient Greeks think in terms of sequels? The ongoing adventures of their mythological gods certainly lend themselves easily to serialized entertainment. And so following the box-office success of 2010's "Clash of The Titans" comes the more-of-the-same sequel "Wrath of The Titans."

With Jonathan Liebesman as the director this time, the film lacks inspiration or zest in storytelling, performance or action. This is pure product, a movie desperately without energy or enthusiasm of any kind.

The new story opens with our hero Perseus (Sam Worthington) as a widower and single father, his curly proto-mullet signaling that he has given up on soldiering and is determined to live as a simple fisherman. That is until a multiheaded creature invades his village and he reveals the powers he possesses as half man, half god.

His father, Zeus (Liam Neeson), is himself engaged in a battle with his brother Hades (Ralph Fiennes) and full-god son Ares (Edgar Ramirez), who are plotting to release the imprisoned Kronos, which would let loose an apocalypse. Or some such.

There is a lot of business in the film, written by Dan Mazeau and David Leslie Johnson from a story by Greg Berlanti, Johnson and Mazeau, regarding powers and loyalties lost, siphoned and regained, a jumble of plot mechanics that seem guided mostly by the expediency of a given scene.

Early implications of a subtext on religious faith -- the gods lose their powers if the people do not pray to them -- are quickly disregarded.

The supporting cast is full of interesting performers given precious little to do. Bill Nighy plays a wily inventor/architect not unlike his role in "The Hitchhiker's Guide to The Galaxy." Rosamund Pike replaces Alexa Davalos as Andromeda, who has been transformed from a lady-in-waiting type to a headstrong, battle-ready empress.

Ramirez brings an unexpected charismatic sensuality to his warrior role, at times seeming like a worker on the factory floor pacing himself too quickly compared to others on the line -- apparently no one told him to keep a lid on it.

Likewise, Toby Kebbell, as half-god Agenor, brings a badly needed comic energy. Lunchtimes around the catering cart with this bunch likely had more drama, humor and action that the film they all ended up in.

Although the film clocks in at little more than an hour and a half, its pacing feels off, both fast-moving and terribly slow at the same time. (And yes, the kitschy mechanical owl from the Harry Hamlin/Laurence Olivier 1981 original "Clash" again makes an inert cameo.)

As the story jumps from set-piece to set-piece, one monster to the next, there is no sense of ongoing adventure, just a checklist being ticked off. The mythology of the ancient Greeks is ultimately no match for the industrial imperatives of modern Hollywood.

MPAA rating: PG-13 (for intense sequences of fantasy violence and action).

Running time: 1:39.

Cast: Sam Worthington (Perseus); Liam Neeson (Zeus); Ralph Fiennes (Hades); Edgar Ramirez (Ares).

Credits: Directed Jonathan Liebesman; written by Dan Mazeau and David Leslie Johnson, story by Greg Berlanti, Johnson and Mazeau, produced by Basil Iwanyk and Polly Cohen Johnsen. A Warner Bros. Pictures release.

Back to Movie Details

Movie News

Plaintiff Michael Egan takes questions from to the media during a news conference in Beverly Hills, Calif., Thursday, April 17, 2014. A sex abuse lawsuit by Egan, a former child model and aspiring actor is accusing "X-Men" franchise director Bryan Singer of sexually abusing him as a teenager in a federal lawsuit filed in Hawaii. Singer's attorney, Marty Singer, said in a statement that the claims are absurd and defamatory. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
Man details abuse claims against 'X-Men' directorMan suing 'X-Men' director Bryan Singer says he reported abuse; his claims called 'fabricated'
The Associated Press1 hour ago
Journalist Melanie Gouby, left, and filmmaker Orlando von Einsiedel pose before their interview about the film "Virunga,"  Thursday April 17, 2014 in New York. The film about Virunga National Park in eastern Congo debuts at the Tribeca Film festival on Thursday.  (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)
Days after shooting, 'Virunga' debuts at TribecaDays after shooting of Congo national park director, 'Virunga' documentary debuts at Tribeca
The Associated Press3 hours ago
FILE - In this April 28, 2012 file photo, Robin Williams appears onstage at The 2012 Comedy Awards in New York. Fox 2000 is developing a sequel to the 1993 hit “Mrs. Doubtfire” with “Elf” writer David Berenbaum attached to pen the script for the comedy, confirmed the studio on Thursday, April 17, 2014. While there are no deals in place, insiders say that Chris Columbus is back on board to direct and Williams will reprise his starring role. (AP Photo/Charles Sykes, file)
Williams in talks to reprise 'Mrs. Doubtfire' roleRobin Williams in talks to reprise Fox 2000 developed 'Mrs. Doubtfire' sequel
The Associated Press7 hours ago
FILE - This March 2, 2014 file photo shows actors Matthew McConaughey, from left, holding his award for best actor for his role in "Dallas Buyers Club", Cate Blanchett holding her award for best actress in "Blue Jasmine", Lupita Nyong'o holding her award for best supporting actress for "12 Years a Slave," and Jared Leto holding his award for best supporting actor in "Dallas Buyers Club" in the press room during the Oscars in Los Angeles. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the ABC Television Network today announced the dates for the 87th Oscars. The Academy Awards presentation will air live on ABC on Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File)
87th Annual Academy Awards date set for Feb. 22Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences sets 87th Oscar date
The Associated Press9 hours ago
Cannes Film Festival general delegate Thierry Fremaux, left, and Festival President Gilles Jacob, right, pose next to the poster of the Festival, at the end of a press conference to announce this years line up in Paris, Thursday April 17, 204. A Tommy Lee Jones western and a David Cronenberg exposé on Hollywood are among the 18 films vying for the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival. The festival organizers also said Thursday that two women directors and famed New Wave filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard will be in competition at the festival that runs May 14-25.(AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere)
Jones, Godard, Cronenberg in competition at CannesFilms by Godard, Cronenberg, Tommy Lee Jones among 18 vying for top Cannes prize in 2014
The Associated Press12 hours ago
Movie News