"Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters" -- just like the 2010 release "Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief" -- continues to fill in that action-film void between little kids and savvy teens. It's a segment of the moviegoing public that often must settle for lackluster offerings like the "Wimpy Kid" series.
To entertain that target group, this offering is a balanced blend of the kind of action that's found in "The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers" series and a touch of the teen angst that has made the "Twilight" series so popular.
That combination makes the film, based on the book by Rick Riordan, a fun, escapist summer movie. Not every demographic will embrace it, but it should find a solid audience with younger movie fans. Older moviegoers who are tired of this summer's action films with dark tones can find some light relief with Percy and the gang.
Percy (Logan Lerman), whose father is Poseidon, the god of the sea in Greek mythology, must use his watery powers on a quest to track down the Golden Fleece. Its magical healing powers are needed to help ensure the safety of the non-humans and other creatures who train in a hidden forest compound.
As in the first film, Percy's joined by the ever-positive Annabeth (Alexandra Daddario) and his satyr buddy, Grover (Brandon T. Jackson). The adventurous group also includes Tyson (Douglas Smith), the cyclops half-brother Percy didn't know he had.
Director Thor Freudenthal shows the wisdom of Athena as he sets a quick tempo for this tale taking the young heroes from battles in the woods to high seas adventures. A few of the special effects are weak, but the movie moves at such a rapid pace, there's not much time to dwell on any visual miscues.
The script by Marc Guggenheim mixes in a few messages about the need to be accepting of those who are different, friendship and trust. Delivery of those messages gets a little heavy at times but never to the point of distraction, especially because Freudenthal's pacing is so quick there's not much time left for any kind of grand observations of life.
There are clues another "Percy Jackson" film could be made. If that's the case, it best not take another three years. Lerman's quickly aging out of looking like the fresh-faced teen who started the series. Wait too long and the next movie will be "Percy Jackson: The Wrath of Middle Age."
PERCY JACKSON: SEA OF MONSTERS
Rated PG for action scenes. Stars Logan Lerman, Alexandra Daddario, Brandon T. Jackson, Douglas Smith. Directed by Thor Freudenthal. Running time: 1 hour, 50 minutes.