The wrath of the young adult franchise continues with Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, the second and clearly not last instalment in Fox’s big screen treatment of Rick Riordan’s demi god series. Those that have not seen its predecessor will join Logan Lerman’s half god, half human Percy living on the outskirts of social acceptance at training ground Camp Half-Blood. A brief insight into his daily woes is interrupted by the news that he has a half brother, a clumsy but harmless Cyclops called Tyson. There’s scarce time for this to register before a mechanical bull has destroyed the camp’s force field and the only way to restore it is to obtain a golden fleece from a carnivorous Cyclops. Oh and the first film’s nemesis shows up, having been assumed dead, trying to get Percy on his side.
There’s no messing about with this story; obstacles fall in quick succession and the quest of Percy and his motley crew (a hoofed satyr called Grover and Athena’s daughter Annabeth) is mapped out before you’ve made yourself comfortable in your seat. The quest seems to be all that the film can cope with, with any sub narratives dealt with hastily. Nathan Fillion makes a fleeting cameo as Hermes and Stanley Tucci and Anthony Head are the only adult cast that have agreed to come back for the new chapter, leaving the story heavily on Lerman.
Surpassing his demi god duties with an impressive lead in The Perks of Being a Wallflower and with collaborations with Darren Aronofsky and David Ayer to look forward to, it does feel like Lerman is paying his dues as Percy, especially with a trilogy almost definitely in the pipeline. Regardless, he is satisfactory as the sword wielding descendent of Poseidon, saving the world with an earnest shrug and though lacking the appeal of the Pattinsons or Hemsworths of his generation is a likeable hero.
Fans of the books will no doubt appreciate the attention paid to the many creatures of Percy’s world, with one sequence involving a Hippocampi (a cross between a fish and horse) standing out particularly. This will be pleasing holiday viewing for the Twihard camp no doubt, but with the narrative far from closed at the end of Sea of Monsters this film serves as more of a chapter than a story in its own right, and agreeable performances and cinematography aside there’s no satisfaction to be had from unfinished business.