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Wrath of the Titans

(Warner Bros. Pictures)

Movie

Wrath of the Titans

Bone-cracking, edge-of-your-seat action may help film defy the scorn of the critical gods

Wrath of the Titans opened to the wrath of critics, dissatisfied with its 3D battle-scenes where a plot should be. But testosterone-loving movie-goers lifted its weekend box office returns to a respectable start, second only to The Hunger Games.

What is its siren song? Not the story, which is a summarized rehash of tales from Greek mythology. Perseus (Sam Worthington) has given up his divine prerogative as the half-son of Zeus and now lives as a fisherman with his son, mourning the recent loss of his wife. When Zeus comes to Perseus and explains that the Titans-powerful, corrupt gods-are breaking free from their underworld prison and threatening the entire universe-Perseus tells dear old dad he can't help.

But things look a little different when three-headed monsters start dropping out of the sky. Perseus realizes he'll have to join the war to protect his son, so he takes up with Queen Andromeda (Rosemund Pike) and his half-brother Agenor (Toby Kebbell) to rescue his father, now held hostage by the corrupt gods, and defeat the forces of evil.

What is actually winsome? First of all, the acting, especially by Liam Neeson as Zeus and Ralph Fiennes as Hades. Second, the movie flirts with a noble storyline regarding the sacred bond between fathers and sons. Rich fodder, though underdeveloped. And then, there's the sweeping cinematography as we journey into the dark world of Mordor, er, I mean Hades, to take on the evil balrog, um, I mean Kronos with the help of a bearded wizard, that is, an engineer/magician.

But this isn't meant to be high, original art; it's meant to grab you with bone-cracking, edge-of-your-seat action. And that's where Wrath of the Titans delivers. From end to end, the movie earns its PG-13 rating for "intense sequences of fantasy violence and action" and "some disturbing images." For those reasons, the movie won't be appropriate for many viewers, but Wrath of the Titans still looks likely to defy the scorn of the critical gods.

Listen to Emily Whitten discuss The Wrath of the Titans on WORLD's radio news magazine The World and Everything in It.