A film that will surely inspire all-comers to brand it “summer,” Wrath of the Titans is a film with delusions of grandeur so far out of touch with reality, that it almost seems not even to think itself a film, nevermind the fantastic regard it has for itself as one.
Built from nothing beyond the fact that every film that turns a profit must have a sequel, this is a film that drags and struggles its way through its inept plot in a way that makes Hercules’ labors look like a Sunday picnic.
This time around we find Perseus living the simple life of a fisherman with his son, when he is visited by Zeus, who tells him that the time of Gods is coming to an end. People don’t pray to them anymore, and that means they are losing their power. While Perseus actually finds this a good thing, it has other repercussions, most notably the losing of some demons for some reason that is run past in half a sentence, because, let’s face it, who cares?
Of course, this vague and seemingly nonsensical reference is only fuel for a certain ruse whereby Zeus and Poseidon are led into a trap Hades has put together with the aid of Zeus’ own son, Ares. This actually does result in some foul creatures escaping the Underworld, and naturally something very nasty shows up at Perseus’ door.
Before long, we’ve figured out that Zeus is being drained of his power in order to give Kronos the strength to escape from whatever suspended animation predicament he’s been in for eons. Thus, Perseus is off on an adventure to find a way into the underworld, and the magnificent prison holding Kronos, because he has to free his father before the world comes to an end… or whatever.
You can hardly fault Sam Worthington, who has to carry the lion’s share of the film almost on his own, but the film slogs around at a mind-numbing pace, and offers extremely little in the way of audience entry points. From the first moments of the film, through very nearly to the end, there is almost nothing that can be described as storytelling ability, nor is there even the charm or entertainment value that usually manages to pull viewers into such goofy vehicles. I mention Worthington here, because nine out of ten times it would be down to the star (especially one who is so central to nearly every scene) when a movie finds a way to fall this flat. This time, it’s pretty clearly the writers at fault, and it’s no joke to say that it damn near seems to be something that comes your way with malice aforethought.
In certain respects the failing of the movie land equally at the feet of the director, such as with the general special effects construction that makes everything so big and ridiculous that it isn’t ominous anymore, but even these semi-laughable shortcomings are nothing compared to the utter lack of anything like a story, or even a theory to get hold of as an excuse to watch.
The mythology seems to have no anchor at all, and is used and abused at the whim of whatever nonsensical scene we want to work at the moment. The treatment of the characters, even despite a few lines that might have been made into something that could legitimately be called a story in more capable hands, hovers dangerously close to the sort of thing that is actually calling the audience stupid. Much as I am prone to enjoy things that are just a wild bit of fun, this one has no ultimate effort behind it, except that it feels confident that a certain amount of budget needs to be put toward raining death, and cool (and ludicrous) monsters.
After the first few times you suddenly find yourself zapped to the next “element” of the “story” that moves us along toward the final battle, it’s hard to remember how you found yourself watching it. There are a few interesting moments, mostly a result of Bill Nighy‘s ability to grab you no matter what he’s doing, but they are few, and rarely has a movie managed to get through such daring feats while leaving you without any ability to care what happens.
“Summer” is one thing, and this summer is going to deliver the spectrum of that particular label, but here is the new low point of such films. Crafted with all the finesse of a furious, boiling God, and with no interest for its viewers once it starts to run, because it already has your money by that point.