300: Rise Of An Empire – Movie Review

movie reviewFirst of all I have to state that I went into this film without any expectations whatsoever. Except maybe the fact that I really wanted the style of the first 300 movie. I was certain that this new movie would not completely be able to hold up with the first one. That rarely happened in movie history. So how much of the first 300 movie was in this new one?

This movie basically tells the same story we already had in 300. This time though we are following the Greeks and not specifically the Spartans. It’s basically that: some really sexy guys have to hold a certain area from a really sexy lady who is leading a part of the Persian invasion. While the first movie is very condensed on Leonidas, his 300 and the area around the Hot Gates, we now get a look at the bigger picture and everything that’s going on around the happenings in the first movie. The movie is at least trying to give a bigger picture. That would make it more a ‘side-quel’ instead of a ‘sequel’.

Here we are following Themistokles (Sullivan Stapleton), a Greek army leader, who is pretty much the main guy in the movie. He is also the guy who may be the reason why all this war is raging, because he killed the father of Xerxes in a battle earlier in history. Which then started a chain of events that made Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro) the crazy ‘God-King’ of Persia we all know from the first movie. Then we have Artemisia (Eva Green). She’s our lead villain in this movie and is originally from Greece. She had a very troubled and disturbing past, which lead her to Persia, when she was saved bysomeone we know from the first movie and this now famous “THIS IS SPARTA” scene. He decides to adopt her, train and teach her to fight and be a relentless leader. When Xerxes decides to conquer the world, Artemisia leads a significant part of his army to Greece. In the first 300 movie we have a couple of scenes that give a glimpse of how sea battles would look like. In this new movie we basically get one big sea battle. The opposing forces give each other hell until the final battle between Themistokles and Artemisia.

The battle scenes are what elevates this movie a tiny bit above the ‘average’ mark… and Eva Green. She must have really enjoyed playing that over the top, badass, crazy villain character of Artemisia. At one point she even opposes Xerxes and says open to his face what she’s thinking about him. She is also the character with the most depth in the movie. We get quite some backstory to her. And that story completely justifies how she became what she is in the movie. And Eva Green does that in a fantastic way. If (beside the battle scenes) anything saves the movie, then it’s her performance. She’s great in this one.

On the opposite of Eva Green we have Sullivan Stapleton as Themistokles. He falls a little flat and by far doesn’t have the charisma of a Gerard Butler who played Leonidas. There are a couple of heroic speech scenes that just don’t really hit the spark and worked for me. But hey, Leonidas had a red cape, Themistokles has a blue one… so the leader in the next movie is destined to have a green cape! He and Eva Green though had some great chemistry when they both shared the screen. They played well off another (and I don’t reduce that to a really nice sex scene between the two). They had some good lines to fire at each other.

What I found positive was the really hard violence in this movie. They completely follow the path of the first movie and even upped the loss of tons of blood in this one. It’s even too much blood for my taste. Sometimes you’re thinking how no one in these battle scenes even slightly slips on all the liters of blood that should be spilled on the ground they fight on. It’s a little ridiculous. It can be said though that it served the 3d very good. All this slow motion blood flying around was kinda fun to watch.

Between the first 300 movie and today there were quite a lot of movies that tried to copy the look and visual style. I had a feeling that this movie would be a weak copy as well. But no! They managed to get exactly the visual feel and look from the first 300 movie. That’s of course the main reason to watch this movie. Since a lot of the movie’s battles happen on open sea, it’s also a different battlefield and allows for more creative visuals and fights. Even though the 3d worked really nice, there was one detail that kinda bugged me in certain scenes. A lot of flying particles! May it be dust or whatever. The 3d effect was great but it distracted a lot from the actual focus point of the scenes. These particles were mostly used in quiet scenes and I ask myself why. Did they think these scenes were too dull and they needed something to keep the eye busy? I don’t know. Otherwise… no big problems with the 3d.

Forget historic details when you go into this movie. From what I know it’s all over the place with it’s facts and everything. Who cares?! I, for my part, got exactly what I wanted from this movie. And that wasn’t much, except a bloody visual feast for the eye.

7.3/10

300 – Rise Of An Empire on IMDb

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