Three years ago, “Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief” arrived in theaters with little or no fanfare. A modest box office success based on a popular young adult book series, the film was enjoyable, but gave no indication that a sequel would ever arrive.
“Sea of Monsters,” the latest film in the series, recently landed in theaters, but it is such a high-quality piece of work that it should have opened much earlier in the summer movie season. Logan Lerman returns as Percy Jackson, a young demigod and the son of Poseidon, god of the sea. Percy has several good friends, but Clarisse La Rue (Leven Rambin), daughter of Ares, thinks he is a waste of space.
Though things have been quiet for the young warriors, an old enemy disables the mystical protection around Camp Half-Blood, the only safe haven for the children of the gods. Percy and his friends must embark on a quest to find the only thing that can save them: the legendary Golden Fleece.
In the hands of director Thor Freudenthal, the latest Percy Jackson adventure far exceeds the original movie. Over the last few years, Logan Lerman grew into the role of a reluctant demigod. Alexandra Daddario, who plays Percy’s best friend Annabeth, also seems quite comfortable returning for a second movie. The two performers have an easy give-and-take here, which bodes well for future sequels.
Douglas Smith steals the show, though, as Tyson, Percy’s half-brother who arrives without warning at Camp Half-Blood. Another son of Poseidon, Tyson is half-Cyclops and he is very happy to meet his brother. Percy feels a little sibling rivalry because their father seems more receptive and in tune with his one-eyed brother. Tyson is such a likeable guy that it is impossible to hate him, though.
Brandon T. Jackson also makes a great return appearance as the satyr named Grover. Though he’s used to Percy’s behavior by now, Grover still isn’t happy about being dragged into dangerous situations. Grover is brave, faithful, and really knows how to think on his cloven-hooved feet.
Director Thor Freudenthal skillfully picked up the storylines from the books and the first movie to craft a sequel that is funny, exciting, and charming. In a summer filled with disappointing, big budget films, “Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters” comes as a very welcome surprise.
“Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters,” rated PG for fantasy action violence, some scary images, and mild language, currently is playing in theaters.