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'Wrath of the Titans' has good CGI but a weak script

'Wrath of the Titans' is slightly better than its predecessor, but actor Sam Worthington is still an uninteresting lead.

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Thankfully Liebesman’s guerrilla shooting style relaxes as the film moves into some of the bigger set pieces in the second and third acts, and Wrath of the Titans ultimately manages to end on a much stronger note than it begins, with some epic blockbuster sequences that make smart use of the film’s much-improved 3D format. Sure, seeing Perseus riding Pegasus towards a giant molten lava Titan is almost a carbon-copy of the first film, but Liebesman makes it look good. War simulation is definitely his strong suit.

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The acting in the film is slightly better this time – though the script is still pretty formulaic, with dialogue that is wooden at best, cringe-worthy at worst. Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes are thankfully given more to work with, as one of the subplots has to do with Zeus and Hades confronting their sibling issues as the time of the gods nears its end. Édgar Ramírez also gets a more Shakespearean (and I use that term veryloosely) story arc, playing the god of war as a wounded, rage-fueled man-child with deep-seated daddy issues. Rosamund Pike and Toby Kebbell are good sidekicks, and character actor Bill Nighy (UnderworldPirates of the Caribbean) shows up for a scenery-chewing cameo alongside a very special guest, which fans of the 1981 originalClash will delight in seeing.

Sam Worthington, on the other hand, is still as wooden and uninteresting as ever. There must’ve been a lot of CGI required to create the actor’s facial expressions in his Avatar alien body, because in every live-action role since then (see: The DebtMan on a Ledge) Worthington has pretty much proven that his range extends between blank face and feral growl. Wrath of the Titans tries to give Perseus some deeper emotional motivations (family, duty), but the scenes requiring emoting just look flat and even comical set against Worthington’s blank stare. Even Pegasus manages to display more personality – and he’s a flying horse. 

The Titans (and all the mystical beasts that come with them) are all well-designed and appropriately menacing – except for the Minotaur in the labyrinth sequence. Thanks to excess shaky-cam, we barely get to see what ol’ horn head looks like. But Kronos, the Chimera, the double-torso demon soldiers – all well done.

If you were a fan of the first installment then Wrath of the Titans is going to be a welcome improvement; if you didn’t like the first film, this sequel is not going to reverse your negative opinion. If you’re wondering whether to shill out for the 3D ticket: the last half-hour is worth it, and overall the format is better-utilized, but for most of the runtime it isn’t a necessity.

Kofi Outlaw blogs at Screen Rant.

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