Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters (PG) 104 mins ***
Since sacrificing the Harry Potter and Twilight cash cows, studio desperation has grown such that even would-be franchises that made scant impression first time out are getting another chance, now in extra-lucrative 3D. This is the one about the teens with Greek gods for parents, and its second instalment shades marginally darker: sharing his producers’ doubts that he may be a “one-quest wonder”, Percy “Son of Poseidon” Jackson (Logan Lerman) has resolved to pluck the Golden Fleece from its current resting place in, erm, the Bermuda Triangle.
Though the introduction of zombie sailors feels like a bandwagon-jump too far, some fun remains in its mad mythological mash-up: Stanley Tucci’s DT-ing Dionysus gets miffed at love rival Zeus for turning all his good wine into water, while recasting the Furies as sightless taxi drivers is a pleasing reminder of certain 80s kids’ films. We’ll doubtless be waiting all eternity for Perce himself to develop beyond have-a-go hero – CG spectacle trumps character here – but if PJ2 exists chiefly to fill a gap in the market, it is at least cheerfully cheap and not unlikable: very much the Poundland Potter, as it were.
Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters is in cinemas nationwide.