Although riddled with flaws, Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (Besides being a mouthful of a title) thoroughly entertained me. However, I don’t think anybody was clamoring for a sequel. Despite my doubts about the second installment’s quality, I figured I’d give it a shot. Well…I guess it could have been worse.
Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters kept most of its core characters and actors, including Annabeth (Alexandra Daddario), Grover (Brandon T. Jackson) and obviously Percy (Logan Lerman). That was key because the trio thrived in the first film and made it worth watching. I wished they could have gotten Zeus (Sean Bean), Poseidon and some of the other gods back for the second installment, but again the core three was rightfully the top priority.
Despite keeping its core, Sea of Monsters had a few new but uninteresting supporting characters that detracted from the film, starting with Percy Jackson’s rival, Clarisse (Leven Rambin). She pretty much played the role of Draco Malfoy from the Harry Potter franchise, but about 100 times more annoying and unreasonable. It was the last straw when she sarcastically said to Percy, “Oh great, you’re still alive.” Who wishes death upon their peers? I understand it as a joke, but the writers meant it to sound like she was legitimately disappointed Percy was still alive. Huh?
As if that wasn’t bad enough, Tyson (Douglas Smith), Percy’s half brother who is also a cyclops, messed with the foundation of the film. I hate making a reference to this trilogy, but it fits perfectly. In all three Hanover movies (or at least I assume because I haven’t seen the third one), Phil, Stu and Alan are the main characters. Doug was never there. If Doug replaced one of those three it would throw off the entire movie and immediately make it worse (Again I hate to make the comparison because The Hangover Part II was awful and I heard awful things about The Hangover Part III, but it would be much worse if they fiddled with the dynamic of the characters that worked in the first movie).
Percy, Grover and Annabeth went on a quest for the golden fleece, which was similar to the journey in the first film, but Tyson came along for the ride. Then Grover was kidnapped, leaving Tyson with Percy and Annabeth. It just threw off what clearly worked in The Lightning Thief. On top of that, Tyson added nothing to the film. He wasn’t funny, and he failed in his emotional role as Percy Jackson’s half brother.
I want to make it clear that I’m not blaming the actors for the failure of this film. The writers gave them nothing. Sea of Monsters had some emotional themes, but approached them in a lackluster manner. So much so that when the time came to feel emotionally moved, I remained stoic.
As for the storyline, I couldn’t help but notice Sea of Monsters stole the plot from Wrath of the Titans, another unnecessary sequel. I love mythology, and enjoyed the clever nature of the first film, which molded mythology with the present day. That didn’t transfer over to Sea of Monsters very well.
Despite its flaws, the visual effects and chemistry of the three leading actors made me still enjoy the film. Lerman, Daddario and Jackson were again solid and, although placed in a limited role, Stanley Tucci is always fantastic. I’ve actually enjoyed Lerman’s performances in the few films, in which I’ve seen him. Even though Gamer is one of the worst movies ever, I thought Lerman was one of the best parts about it. I hope to see him in the future. He’s not the greatest actor, but he fits his roles very well.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Sea of Monsters failed to duplicate what made The Lightning Thief entertaining, and added dull characters that were detrimental to the film. The good news is Sea of Monsters probably destroyed any chance of a trilogy. However, if there is a third movie, I’ll probably see it. Despite its awful execution, the franchise’s premise still intrigues me.
I’ll give Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters 1 and 1/2 out of 5 cups.
As of Aug. 18, Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters made a domestic total of approximately $38 million versus a production budget of $90 million, according to Box Office Mojo.
To see the movie trailer for Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, click here.