Director Jonathan Liebesman faced several Olympic-size challenges with "Wrath of the Titans," the sequel to "Clash of the Titans."
The simple fact it is a sequel sets up the very real potential of an Icarus crash-and-burn scenario. The track record for sequels is none too good.
Liebesman also had to deal with the titanic dark shadow of the lousy 3-D in the 2010 release, since his sequel also features the optical effect. Poor 3-D reminds moviegoers they were forced to pay extra for not much return.
To his credit, the director has dealt with both potential pitfalls and created a sequel that's interesting, fast-paced and a visual splendor. It, like the 2010 remake, still doesn't have the charm of the original 1981 "Clash of the Titans," but the latest tale of gods, demi-gods and titans accomplishes the Herculean task of being entertaining.
In "Wrath," the story of Perseus (Sam Worthington) and his troublesome relationship with the Greek gods continues. Perseus must come to the rescue of Zeus (Liam Neeson) when he's kidnapped by Hades (Ralph Fiennes) to jump start a plan that will release the titans on the world. Perseus gets help from the courageous Andromeda (Rosamund Pike) and the mischievous Agenor (Toby Kebbell) in dealing with the quest.
The sequel is interesting because screenwriters Dan Mazeau and David Johnson have distilled the story down to a tale of family -- father vs. son and brother vs. brother. So despite the mythical elements, this is a relatable story. It helps that Neeson and Fiennes give their characters the kind of lofty characteristics to suggest Greek gods but also show enough humanity to make the family relationships feel realistic.
Worthington's the weak link. His Perseus is little more than a brawler. Back when Harry Hamlin originated the role, Perseus was both brains and brawn. The intellectual elements no longer exist in the character. They have been handed over to Pike, who's the smarts behind the group, and Kebbell, who gives the film a much needed sense of humor that make Kebbell's contribution the "Laugh of the Titans."
Despite the odds being against him, Liebesman pulls all the elements together to make "Wrath of the Titans" a champion.
"Wrath of the Titans," rated PG-13 for violence. Stars Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson, Ralph Fienne, Rosamund Pike. Directed by Jonathan Liebesman. Running time: 99 minutes. Grade: B Theaters and times for this movie | Other movie reviews
TV and movie critic Rick Bentley can be reached at (559) 441-6355, email@example.com
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