Percy Jackson: Sea Of Monsters film review

Despite scene-stealing from Nathan Fillion, Percy Jackson: Sea Of Monsters is lightweight

Son of Poseidon Percy Jackson (Logan Lerman) is having a crisis of confidence. Is he a one quest wonder or was he truly meant for great things?

Before our young hero can reach an answer the demigod safe haven Camp Half Blood, home to the sons and daughters of the gods of Olympus, is imperiled.

Percy and his friends Grover (Brandon T Jackson) and Annabeth (Alexandra Daddario) must go on a quest to bring back the Golden Fleece from the Sea of Monsters and restore the protective barrier around the camp before the mythical monsters and beasties looking to destroy them break in. Meanwhile, Percy also learns of a prophesy which could mean he is either the salvation or damnation of Olympus, and that he has a cyclops half brother.

Greek mythology with a modern twist? It’s so crazy, it might just work. Except it’s all just a bit too safe.

It’s been three years since Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief was released. However, director Thor Freudenthal’s sequel takes little time rattling through expository dialogue to get newcomers up to speed. A little time to establish Percy’s neuroses about his absentee father, rivalry with Ares’ daughter Clarisse (Leven Rambin) and an attack by an angry mechanical bull later and Sea Of Monsters races ahead with plenty of action but a lack of character development and some truly dreadful dialogue.

The three leads are now joined by Douglas Smith as Percy’s half brother Tyson, and they do their best with what they’re given, but cliché lines about the importance of family and utterly predictable character reveals feel clawing and lacking in any emotion. Villain Luke (Jake Abel) is laughably obvious: he’s so evil he switches off classical music when prisoners are brought before him, plays chess menacingly and wears black. Ooo, nasty.

A few characters have been recast since The Lightning Thief with Stanley Tucci (The Hunger Games, Captain America: The First Avenger) taking over as Mr D, Anthony Head (Buffy, Merlin) as Chiron and Nathan Fillion stopping by long enough to make a veiled Firefly reference. They’re welcome scene-stealers.

Harry Potter might be a lazy comparison, but it is unavoidable one because this kind of territory has been covered in recent memory and much better.

Percy Jackson: Sea Of Monsters is lightweight next to the might of Mr Potter, descending into shallow waters after a strong start and it doesn’t do half as many interesting things as it could with the mythos on which it’s based. However, if you’re in the mood for a bit of brainless fun you could do worse.