Culture Wrath (Wrath of the Titans, 2012)

Wrath_of_the_Titans_PosterWrath of the Titans tries to rectify the one thing missing from Clash of the Titans.  Titans.  In the original Clash, the Kraken was a Titan, but in the 2010 film, this was a bit clear.  Wrath opens with the story of how Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades defeated their father Kronos and imprisoned him in the underworld.  It also reminds us that Zeus and Poseidon had conned Hades by binding him to the Underworld.

Perseus and Io were living the quiet life in a fishermans’ village.  Io bore them a son, Helius and then died before the movie started. Gemma Arterton was unable to return to the film and so she was killed off.  This would seem at least understandable until you find that they recast Andromeda with the blonde Rosamund Pike. But anyways, Helius desires to be a warrior, a life which Perseus is aggressively trying to keep him from.

Zeus reveals that he visits Helius in the boy’s dreams, but wishes Perseus would be more open to accepting their status as demigods.  Meanwhile, Hades and Ares are conspiring against the other gods, tempted by Kronos.  They get the jump on Poseidon and Zeus, stealing Zeus’ lightning bolt.  Poseidon is mortally wounded, but escapes and passes his trident to Perseus. He tells Perseus to find his son, the demigod Agenor. He finds Andromeda, who is now a warrior Queen leading her army.  They are aware things are afoot, as monsters have started to burst forth from the ground.  They also have Agenor (who is basically the Greek god equivalent of Russell Brand) as a prisoner.

The three take some warriors with them to go on a mission to rescue Zeus and stop Hades from freeing Kronos. To do this, they travel to find Hephaestus for a way into the underworld. After a fight with Hades, Perseus, Andromeda, and Agenor escape into the ever-shifting labyrinth that will lead to the Underworld.

This film muddles it’s the previous stand against the gods, with Perseus having appeared to soften his feelings towards them. The film is full of nods to Greek myths, such as the Minotaur in the Labyrinth, chimera and so on.  It also has easter eggs like the mechanical owl Bubo in a cameo (which occurred in the 2010 film as well) who is quickly laughed off. But everything feels so randomly chosen and leaves out some great character concepts from the original myths. And if the gods were largely missing in the original film, this one makes it all the worse by having the majority of the gods killed off-screen.

In fact, the film seems dedicated to destroying any further franchise potential by basically erasing the gods from existence. I would say this film is not a worthy successor to the 2010 Clash of the Titans, but then, that film was not impressive either.

The truth is, I wanted both of these films to be great, but they are so largely cynical of their source material, they lack the joy a good fantasy film can contain.  They are all about the big effects, leaving little room for actual character.  Sure, they try for heft in the notion of Hades and Zeus mending their relationship.  And then there is Perseus finding love with Andromeda.  Yet, these plotlines feel forced and a bit hollow.

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