(NEW YORK) — Wrath of the Titans should more accurately be called Math of the Titans. It exists solely due to the simple math Warner Bros. used when 2010’s Clash of the Titans earned upwards of $160 million in North American box office receipts and nearly half-a-billion dollars worldwide.
Like Clash of the Titans before it, Wrath of the Titans is based on characters and settings from Greek mythology, but not specific stories from Greek mythology. My major complaint about Clash of the Titans is simple: it stank, in part because it was converted to 3D as an afterthought. The result? A headache-inducing effect that rendered the action nearly unwatchable.
Half-a-billion dollars in earnings, though, also earns you the right to try again. And with Wrath of the Titans they do better — on a few levels, at least.
Wrath takes place ten years after Perseus (Sam Worthington) defeated the monster Kraken in Clash. Instead of taking his rightful place as a legendary demigod, he’s decided to live his life as a humble fisherman. When we meet him again, he’s a widower raising his son Helius, hoping to shield the young man from the petty nature of the Greek gods, as well as the perils of formulaic writing, overacting and gratuitous 3D.
Zeus (Liam Neeson) visits Perseus unannounced, warning his son that the Greek gods are losing their power because the people have stopped praying to them. This is an issue because Kronos, father of Zeus, Poseidon and Hades (Ralph Fiennes), is trying to stage a comeback and destroy the world, and Zeus is hoping his brothers, plus sons Ares and Perseus, will join him to defeat Kronos.
Perseus doesn’t exactly refuse to help but feels his human half makes him inadequate for the task. That’s when Zeus drops a thunderbolt of knowledge on his son: “You will learn someday that being half-human makes you stronger than a god.”
On that note, Zeus leaves Perseus to meet Poseidon and Ares in Tartarus, realm of Hades, hoping to recruit them, but the god of the underworld has other ideas. Hades and Ares kill brother/uncle Poseidon and take brother/papa Zeus prisoner, intending to help grandpa/great-grandpa Kronos destroy the world.
Yes, even the gods can benefit from a good family therapist.
Now comes Perseus to save the day, aided on his journey by Andromeda (Rosamund Pike) and his cousin Agenor, the disappointing demigod son of Poseidon who’s played rather brilliantly by Toby Kebbell.
In the end, all the fuss makes Wrath of the Titans a considerably better movie-going experience than Clash of the Titans, but that’s not saying much. The 3D in Wrath of the Titans is fantastic but the story and action is nothing we haven’t seen before. Then again, why expect anything more from a sequel so clearly meant to make money, and achieve little else.
Two-and-a-half out of five stars.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio