If ever there was a franchise built on a heaping, Olympus-high mountain of wasted potential, it’s Warner Bros.’s Titans series. 2009’s Clash of the Titans, a remake of Desmond Davis’s 1981 cult hit, stuffed a monumental cast of thunderous mythological heavy-hitters into a stolid, directionless hack ‘n slash bore-a-thon that struck with all the sound and fury of a wiffle ball bat. Cluelessly bungling a sure-fire recipe for cheesy popcorn nirvana, the film was little more than a showcase for wonderfully-designed, choppily-executed CG monsters and the perpetually apathetic smirk of buff, charisma-challenged lead Sam Worthington.
Yet, the picture’s gloriously silly “Release the Kraken!” marketing push worked wonders – generating a gigantic $500-million in worldwide ticket sales – and has inspired a return trip to creature-infested ancient Greece in Wrath of the Titans, an oh-so-slightly superior follow-up that’s equal parts sequel and remake of its uninspired forebear. Following the same template as Clash, this second attempt is still a story-telling dead end, though it at least pares down the convoluted nonsense to a manageable length and delivers an appropriate amount of stylish, empty-headed effects overkill. The result is often like watching a friend play an impressive-looking video-game; you can admire the spectacle even if the experience is forgettable.
How mankind’s oldest, richest stories could inspire a script this vacant is a mystery best left to the ages. While there’s nothing wrong with using classical literature to craft light-hearted swashbuckling fun (1963’s stellar Jason and the Argonauts pulled off this feat in spades),Wrath is so uninterested in its flimsy narrative it’s off-putting. The script, by a crew of four credited writers, sends its characters on an epic journey that feels like it spans all of a weekend. Although the film’s title screams larger than life thrills, there’s no grandeur to the picture, with its blank, paper-thin heroes and villains and abominable dialogue, or any sense that we’re being swept up in a breathless tale.
2 out of 5
*Originally published at Converge Magazine.