Perseus accepts hero fate in “Wrath of the Titans”

A demigod’s work is never done.

That is the bitter lesson Perseus (Sam Worthington) learns in “Wrath
of the Titans.” To make it even worse, all the trouble is stirred up
by members of his family.

Unlike Luke Skywalker, a star-fated warrior of another place and
time, Perseus is not locked into this life of adventure and all the
excitement, adulation, bumps and bruises it brings. This fellow has
been imprinted as the guy who killed the Kraken, giving him a
reputation he would just as soon discard.

A decade or so after his triumph over the Kraken, Perseus is a
widow, living under the radar in a fishing village, raising his young
son, Helius (John Bell). Unfortunately, things are being shaken up
in his powerful but dysfunctional family tree. His Uncle Hades (Ralph
Fiennes), who has been relegated to the underworld by his brother -
and Perseus’s father – Zeus, has not been idling his time away. He
has begun an alliance with Ares (Edgar Ramirez), yet another
offspring of Zeus who is estranged from his father. Hades and Ares
plot to lure Zeus into a trap and transfer his power to the embedded
Kronos, father of Zeus and Hades, who would like to become mobile
again.

Before he is entrapped, Zeus pays a visit to Perseus, seeking his
help. The gods are weakening, he warns. Titans already are returning,
ready to wreak havoc. Sorry, Perseus says. I’m happy here, catching
fish and spending quality time with my son.

Somebody makes the tactical error of unleashing beasts upon the
world, one of which attacks the village where Perseus resides and
endangering Helius. This of course riles up Perseus, who goes to the
temple to have a chat with his father. But by that time, Zeus has
been captured and a bloody Poseidon (Danny Huston), pretty well
beaten up, shows up instead at the temple and delivers the bad news. Poseidon
also gives Perseus his instructions.

This leads to an alliance with Andromeda (Rosamund Pike), who is not
afraid to face deadly enemies and get a little dirty in the process,
and the underachieving Agenor (Toby Kebbell), also known as The
Navigator.

They pay a visit to Hephaestus, the fallen one (Bill Nighy), the
maker of godly weapons but now living a hermit life. Old Hephy is
well past his prime, but he does hold one valuable card – he designed
Tartarus, the gloomy underworld dungeon where Zeus is imprisoned and
where Hades, Ares and the dormant Kronos also are stationed. Tartarus
is impregnable except for a labyrinth Hephaestus had installed.
Unfortunately, Hephaestus does not make it inside Tartarus and the
map he gives to Agenor proves useless. Tartarus would be a great
amusement park attraction with all its constantly evolving corridors,
barriers and impromptu slides. But it requires a hearty breed to
negotiate, and the three heroes find themselves tumbling great
distances and getting pretty banged up.

But of course they get to the heart of Tartarus so that “Wrath” can
get on with the inevitable final confrontations.

“Wrath of the Titans” is offered in 3D but per usual, 2D is just
fine. The visual highlights include Perseus, Andromeda and Agenor
doing battle with three gargantuan Cyclops creatures, and then the
hair-raising efforts to wind their way through the potentially deadly
Tartarus maze.

Kronos does make an appearance but looks like a piece of burned
popcorn.

Worthington is not an actor of deep range, but he has a physical
presence and does well in conveying a reluctant hero persona. Pike
looks wonderful when she’s wielding weapons in an efficiently deadly
manner, but she just does not get to do it that much in “Wrath.”
Kebbell almost shows up these more well known actors with his Agenor,
a misfit who comes in handy when it is really needed.

Neeson, Nighy and Fiennes add a regal touch as splendid veteran
actors getting to grow beards and ham it up.

After all the dust and chaos settle, the teasers are delivered. Will
Perseus act on his attraction to Andromeda? Now that he has accepted
his fate, will Perseus groom Helius in the art of maintaining peace?

Only a third movie in this series will tell.

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