Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters – Film Review
Yeah yeah, we get it. It’s a sequel.
TL;DR Percy 2: Titanic Boogaloo is a competent, unambitious timekiller. Logan Lerman is still cute, despite his haircut, and you can play “spot the teen fantasy/sci-fi star” to decent contentment. That cyclops guy sucks, though. 3 out of 5 stars.
Just more CGI wank. That’s literally his only contribution.
The plot drops all the world-building and zaniness of the original for a formulaic “new threat exists, go take care of it” approach. So, you know, a sequel. Duh. Percy and the gang are chilling at their magic camp when an attack by Luke (that guy from The Host who was also a baddie in the first Percy) destroys their mystical barrier. Percy is overlooked for the task of finding the required McGuffin (the Golden Fleece) to restore it because Ares’ afore-unmentioned daughter is tougher. But Percy’s like “fuck that” and goes off anyway, taking Grover and Annabeth with him. His cyclops half brother (Poseidon likes to fuck around. With non-humans) comes, too. Because we need a morality pet. Clarisse (baby Ares) and Percy eventually team up to thwart Luke’s plan of resurrecting Kronos, who you might recognise from another fantasy sequel of recent times.
But this one’s got teenagers!
My major problem with Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters isn’t that it’s a blasé, action-heavy/character-lite sequel. It’s a teen fantasy movie. Twilight has lowered the bar across the board, and I was ready.
No, it’s the annoying plot. Which boils down to fucking daddy issues. Again. The first one was all about Percy’s daddy issues. Now it’s all about Luke’s.
Luke isn’t even given a real motive for being the villain. He just wallows in his hilariously shallow angst and mumbles something about how the gods dispatched their daddy, so it’s his turn to do the same.
Dude, shut the fuck up. Your dad is Richard goddamn Castle. Also, you’re a fucking demigod. Stop it.
Why I hate this movie:
In fact, it’s awkward motivation all over the place. Percy is only interested in going on the quest because of a prophecy that randomly pops up. Annabeth has a weird, racism-Aesop subplot about how she hates cyclopses. Grover doesn’t have any motivation (so it’s fortunate he gets kidnapped for most of the movie). Clarisse is just a bitch (fine with me, actually). Tyson (cyclops) is just tagging along. And we don’t really hear from any of Luke’s allies, so presumably they’re just as sooky about their parents as he is.
The cool cameo quota wasn’t as impressive as the first Percy, which had Uma Thurman, Rosario Dawson, Steve Coogan, Sean Bean, and Pierce Brosnan. This time, Brosnan gets swapped out for Anthony Head, and we get Stanley Tucci, Nathan Fillion, and the kooky taxi chicks (Missi Pyle, that chick from Community, someone else). Pfft.
The “Sea of Monsters” turns out to have, like, 2 monsters in it.
Clarisse is unnecessary. She fills the exact same role as Annabeth from the first movie. I want to compliment the filmmakers on avoiding the Sharpay Evans route of hitting the antagonist reset button without explanation, but then they kept Annabeth, too. Which makes the ragtag group of heroes an overbloated mess.
Fillion’s character brings up an aside about a fictional TV show that was cancelled and how it was unfair. Firefly was 11 fucking years ago. Let it go.
Tahlia, the Zeus’ daughter demigod who died as a child and was reborn into the Camp Halfblood barrier, is accidentally revived by the Golden Fleece at the end. But she’s grown into the same age as our main cast. She better not be a love interest in the sequel. That’s some paedophila, baby.
Tyson’s CGI eye was disgusting.
Oh, and the most frustrating thing in the entire movie is just before Kronos is awakened. Tyson has returned to save Percy, who had presumed him dead after getting shot by Luke earlier. Instead of taking this very free moment to whip the Golden Fleece off Kronos and prevent his resurrection, they hug for what feels like a trillion years. Then “Oh no, guiseeee. Kronos dun got risened. D’oh!” God.
Reasons to watch:
I also have a soft spot for Alexandra Daddario. I really should get around to watching that Texas Chainsaw thing she was in.
Jake Abel returns from The Lightning Thief. The other teen movie die-hards in the audience will know him from The Host, and I Am Number Four.
Clarisse is played by that blonde bitch from The Hunger Games. She also looks like a less bagel-y version of Lea Michele now that she’s a brunette.
The CGI isn’t too offensive. Percy 1 used it with abandon, so I was ready. The way Kronos came apart and back together to move was pretty fucking cool.
There are Confederate zombie soldiers who Clarisse uses to crew a boat.
The abandoned theme park setting was cute.
Grover puts on a dress and wears a fake eye to trick a starving cyclops. Drag is in his repertoire.
Nathan Fillion is always a treat.
Oh, and Percy actually gets to show off his water bending powers a bit. He uses it to rock the shit out of Luke’s boat. And he fabricates a wave to surf on as a means of transportation. Sadly, he doesn’t roll around in a clingy, wet t-shirt very much.
Let’s just hope Logan can maintain his boyish good looks in time for them to take another eternity to release the next sequel. 3 out of 5 stars.