'Wrath of the Titans': What the Critics Are Saying
Wrath of the Titans will likely slash its way to a $30 million opening weekend, but can it slay the doubts of the critics?
With a Rotten Tomatoes rating of just 24%, the Warner Bros. sequel rates even lower than Clash of the Titans, which scored a 28% on the tomato-meter two years ago. Clash went on to earn nearly $500 million at the global box office, despite its poor critical response.
Set ten years after Clash, the new film sees demigod Perseus (Sam Worthington) on a journey to rescue his father Zeus (Liam Neeson) from his uncle Hades (Ralph Fiennes).
The Hollywood Reporter’s Todd McCarthy acknowledged the film’s 3D was better than its predecessor's, but lamented that its "barely-there screenplay," failed to "yield even fleeting moments of awe."
He also took issue with the characterization of the film’s gods.
“As so many versions of Greek myths and the gods' actions existed even in ancient times, one can't take issue with the way they're employed,” McCarthy wrote, “other than to note that the gods here, claiming undue neglect by humans, behave like petulant mercenaries as anxious to fight as some kid might be to play a video game.”
Rolling Stone’s Peter Travers wasted no time to bash Wrath, opening his review with this wonderfully Homer-esque line: “This feeble followup to 2010's godawful Clash of the Titans sucketh the mighty big one.”
The review only got uglier from there.
“Director Jonathan Liebesman, guilty of inflicting Battle Los Angeles on an unsuspecting nation, keeps the incompetence coming with incontinent glee,” Travers wrote.
In his two-star review, Chicago Sun-Times critic Roger Ebert criticized the film’s dim lighting, made worse by 3D. For Ebert, the 3D exemplified the film’s dependence on visual fireworks without a getting the basics of a good film down.
“I found myself wondering, just for the heck of it, how the movie might have played with a more traditional approach,” Ebert wrote. “You know. Literate, concise dialogue. Characters we care about, with relationships that have meaning for us. Action set-pieces within well-established spatial boundaries. Pacing that doesn't hurtle past us faster than the human ability to develop interest. You know, that kind of stuff.”
Even as the critics have banded together to reject Wrath, they seem resigned that a Titans threequel will be on its way in a few years.
Writing for the Los Angeles Times, Mark Olsen characterized the film as part of a sequel factory, endlessly pumping out product regardless of quality.
“This is pure product, a movie desperately without energy or enthusiasm of any kind,” Olsen wrote.
Olsen did praise supporting players Bill Nighy, Rosamund Pike and Toby Kebbell, whom he lamented they were given too little to do. Olsen was also confused by the pacing of the 99-minute film, which seemed both too fast and painfully slow.
“As the story jumps from set-piece to set-piece, one monster to the next, there is no sense of ongoing adventure, just a checklist being ticked off,” Olsen wrote. “The mythology of the ancient Greeks is ultimately no match for the industrial imperatives of modern Hollywood.”