Clash of the Titans

The worldview here is subversive Humanism: Mankind is the measure of all things, and human life is more worthy to experience than heaven or the supernatural. Demigod Perseus, (half man, half god) goes on a journey to save mankind from the destruction of the gods giving up on man. Zeus creates men in order to give the gods strength through their prayers, but men turn from the gods for their own glory, so Zeus lets out the wrath of Hades and the underworld to cause them to turn back to the gods and pray in their suffering.

The worldview of this movie is that this world holds more value than the afterlife. Perseus prefers his humanity and living in this world than in taking the offer to live with the gods. Deity is as petty and capricious as humanity, so why bother with them? One recurring phrase that emphasizes the theme is “One day, somebody’s got to take a stand. One day, somebody’s got to say enough.” I guess that means enough of the gods meddling in our lives because that’s pretty much what everyone complains about throughout the film. Another statement by Andromeda: “The gods need US! They need our prayers! What do WE need the gods for?”

The protagonist, Perseus, being the man of both worlds is the one struggling between which world is a better one, and he chooses the world of humanity over the gods, which is the message of the storytellers. I am reminded of the movie Troy, that made the same point that the gods have no power, they are merely religious beliefs, only humans actually accomplish anything by their own choices and this life is all that matters. Only in this movie, deity is real but it is STILL not worthy of the human experience.

When faced by Zeus, Perseus tells him about his men, “We live, we fight, we die for each other, not you.” When asked if he wants to go live with the gods in a safe heaven, Perseus replies, “I’ve got everything I need right here.” In this mythology, the gods feed off of men’s prayers. They need men or their powers fade. Hades even says, “It’s mankind who holds the keys to Hades’ rise. Only men can stop it.” Gods in this system are more like exalted humanity than transcendent deity. In fact, I think they are anthropomorphisms of social construction. In other words, they are real in the story, but the story is about showing how they are impotent or without ultimate authority in this life. In the beginning of the movie, someone shouts, “This is the age of man!” in defiance of the gods. I think this movie is a humanistic subversion of religion as reliant upon man, as the measure of all things. Man is “growing up” into his own by freeing himself from the capriciousness of deity in control of his life.

In an interesting apparently deliberate contrast with Christianity, Zeus says “I wanted men to worship me. But I didn’t want it to cost me a son.”

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