Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief ★★½

Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief was one of the most popular books when I was in middle school, and this movie came out during my freshman year of high school. I never read the book, but for the last decade I’ve only ever heard people talk about how bad it is. And it wasn’t... that bad?
It’s a mediocre YA fantasy adventure film that is clearly ripping off Harry Potter (Chris Columbus even directs), but as far as the onslaught of YA Harry Potter wannabes go this could have been a lot worse.
This ancient-Greek-mythology-but-in-the-present premise is the sort I’m used to seeing in TV or much lower budget films, but I think Columbus does a decent job at making this feel serviceably cinematic.
But don’t get me wrong, The Lightning Thief is not a good movie. It’s mediocre. It’s the sort of adventure film where the quest is a series of pit stops to build the world, but unlike other similar efforts I’m glad the pit stops don’t feel like brochures for future movies.
It’s nice that this is a movie that wants to give visibility to children with dyslexia and ADHD, but it’s also a bummer that it’s in yet another disposable fantasy picture—the “Special” kind The LEGO Movie would spend its entire runtime dunking on.

...So why does everybody assume Percy stole the lightning?