Wrath of the Titans (2012)
Well, this was a genuine turn up. Admittedly, I wasn't expecting a masterpiece and nor did I get one, but this was a much better experience than I was anticipating. Not having the baggage of a remake moniker to deal with this time around and a backstory already in existence, Perseus and his cohorts are pretty much free to do what they like, telling an entirely new tale about Zeus' abduction to the Underworld by Hades, in order for Cronos, their father, to drain him of his powers and so enabling Cronos a return to earth and the destruction of the entire planet.
The franchise has done away with previous love interest Gemma Arterton, replaced by equally fruity eye candy Andromeda, Warrior Queen, in the form of new posh totty, Rosamund Pike. More new faces include Toby Kebbell (Agenor, son of Poseidon. I thought that was Percy Jackson, but there you go) and Bill Nighy (Hephaestus) sporting an unusual beard and frightful northern accent that sounds like an old man from Bolton who has only just recently begun his elocution lessons in order to read the news on BBC1 in the nineteen fifties.
Regulars Sam Worthington (Perseus), Ralph Fiennes (Hades) and Liam Neeson (Zeus) are attendant also and this very capable cast sets about the not too difficult task of making a movie that doesn't really challenge the viewer in any way whatsoever. It manages to pull this off very well indeed, with a simple story, few plot twists and a script, let's be honest, that could well have been written by your Mum.
After the risible retro-fitting of the 3D to Clash Of The Titans two years ago, this version doesn't look too bad, although most will not have seen it in 3D this time, given that the terrible efforts of the last film will have tempted those to the film to view it in 2D. Either way, the CGI is impressive and the action sequences are well choreographed. It doesn't take long for the meat of the film, the action, to get started either, with Perseus taking on a two headed fire breathing beast making light work of his village and trying to eat his own son, Helius, who is now around ten, giving the viewer a bit of grasp on the time elapsed since Perseus slayed the Kraken, for which he is now both famous and adored by almost everyone.
The father and son theme is prevalent throughout and even becomes a little tiresome and cheesy by the end, but if they had to hang their hat on something, this was as good a place as any to drive the plot (such as it is) forward. Worthington (now with added frightbarnet instead of a skinhead) appears to have a little more fun with Perseus here. He seems less sedated and less serious than in the first film. This can only be a good thing considering it seemed like even a tiny fart would have blown his own head off the last time we saw him, such was the furious brow furrowing. This may have something to do with the inclusion of Toby Kebbell, who brought his own unique brand of comedy timing and northern ladishness to proceedings.
As mentioned, the story is not taxing, though did you ever expect it to be anything else? The franchise has quickly become a frontrunner of predictability. You get swords, sandals, big monsters and grand, opulent action scenes that really do show you the money. Teenage boys will love it, even if it doesn't really make use of Rosamund Pike as well as it might have done and she neither convinces as warrior queen in a male dominated cast nor as a serious love interest for Perseus, as she seems too independent for him.
In short, it's a fair old romp. It looks great and it won't make your head hurt, unless you do watch it in 3D. But like the first one, there is little point in doing so as although the 3D is better this time around, you wouldn't really be missing anything by opting for the cheaper, less dimensional option. Good fun almost all the way through, though it faltered a little in the second act, becoming dare I say it, a little dull, but by the end, the movie had redeemed itself. Get some popcorn and you're all set, just don't expect a classic.