(SPOILER WARNING!!! This article does contain spoilers, if you haven’t seen the movie, just see the first paragraph to be informed without spoilers!!!)
300: Rise of an Empire is a bloody, war epic, even though I still believe the 1st movie was better for many different reasons, any 300 fans will find this movie enjoyable. Rating: 4 out of 5.
I remember when the first 300 movie came out and how awesome, unique, and memorable that movie was. It was definitely a man’s movie that had great CGI graphics with the slow motion, and how tastefully violent it was. Also the memorable quotes like, “THIS IS SPARTA,” and “TONIGHT WE DINE IN HELL.” This is the movie that jump started Gerard Butler’s career as King Leonidas, and he moved on to create semi good to terrible movies. For me it was great movie to watch, for others it is the greatest movie ever. The fact that they were making a second gave me the rolling of my eyes back. 300 doesn’t need a sequel, it was perfect the way it is. But, Hollywood will go through with it to make some cash. At least they waited 8 years to make another one, cuz 300 was about to be a distant memory. So it was perfect timing. I will start with what I like, to the so-so, to the what I didn’t like.
There were many things to like in this movie. They definitely turned up the gore in violence on this movie, which is a good thing to make a sequel to 300 successful. They brought in a fairly unknown actor in Sullivan Stapleton to play the protagonist, Themistocles, a very famous war leader that killed King Darius. I thought Stapleton played his role very well. Not as intense as Gerard Butler, but respectable and has his presence known with his army. The main antagonist of the movie was Artemisia, played by Eva Green. Even though her backstory was a little cliched, she did demand a big presence with her Persian army. She is very twisted and charismatic person, and would kill to get what she wants. I thought Green’s character was perfect for this movie. When you have Themistocles who was cool, calm, and collected. You need an enemy who is the complete opposite, and the crazy and demented Artemisia played it like that. I liked how they intertwined the story of the first 300 to this story, shows what else is going on in Greece during this war against Medo-Persia. I liked the the angle they took with their battle scenes, and have a navy boat battle in the sea. It brings a different element of viewing the war between Greece and Medo-Persia. Two battles that I liked was the one where they fooled the Persian ships to crashing into a canyon and the Spartans jumped from the cliffs to attack them, and the final battle in the movie, especially the part where Themistocles mounted on a horse and started galloping from ship to ship slicing people. The battles for some reason reminded me of one of my favorite video games, God of War, just pure bloody battles (With humans, not monsters like the game.) I also enjoyed the music in this movie as well, composed by Junkie XL, once hear the guitars strumming, you know things are about to go down. Lastly, (have to say it) the sex scene between Themistocles and Artemisia was freaky and erotic. Artemisia wanted to have Themistocles on her side (And a big crush on him) and I guess to make the deal official they have to have sex. The kicker is that after all that banging and crashing, Themistocles still on Sparta’s side. I thought it was funny, well played Themistocles. Zack Snyder directed the original 300 and created all these new visuals with CGI and slow motion, and new director, Noam Muro followed his creativeness, and added more flair. Thank goodness for that, cuz it’s like Snyder never left.
What I thought was so-so, was the lack of an appearance of King Xerxes, played by Rodrigo Santoro. In the first 300 he brought a presence, showing why he is King of Persia, and the awkward moments with King Leonides. It did bring some backstory on how Xerxes became King and his relationship with Artemisia. However, he was barely there in the whole movie. Only at the end where he is all cocky for defeating Leonides. I believe they were setting up for a final movie in this 300 series, and just wanted to show something new in this war story before the final battle and Greece turning to an empire.
What I didn’t like, this movie did have it’s slow parts in the beginning, but it was just to develop the story. Also, I didn’t like how it ended, cuz it leaves us with a little cliffhanger. The cliffhanger shows that there will be one more movie, but to me it’s lazy writing. I like good conclusions to the movie, and cliffhangers just gets me to wanting more and I hate that feeling. (Still excited for a third one, nonetheless less.) The only thing about this movie is that, compared to the the first movie, the first one is better. First, I believe Gerard Butler as Leonides was desperately missed. We needed his charisma, his powerful voice, his philosophy of battle. That’s what made 300 unique, that 300 pure soldiers can wreck a lot of havoc, and to inspire a group no matter how small they are compared to the enemy. King Leonides brought them that inspiration till his death in the original. I guess I wish they put him in a flashback or vision or something. The original 300 had more of a purposeful philosophical storyline, while this movie was more a direct approach of courage and tactics. Maybe for the 3rd movie, they will combine both. I hope they do.
Overall, even though I like the first 300 better, I still thought this movie was enjoyable to watch. Any fan of the original 300 will appreciate this movie. It’s usually a red flag when they push back a movie, but it showed that they put a lot of thought into making this movie good for the fans at the very least. I appreciate it for that at the very least!!! Rating 4 out of 5 Stars