Alright so I was able to check out 300: Rise of an Empire like a week ago. Honestly, I wasn’t too excited for this movie, I’m not sure why. I definitely enjoyed the first 300, but have never felt any burning desire to watch the movie again and normally only watch it when it’s on TV and I find myself in the mood. Then I found out they were making the sequel and I just though ugh.. 300 just seemed like such a solo story about these epic guys who go to war despite being horribly against the odds, and it shouldn’t have a sequel. So I never looked much into the film; I saw that it had an okay cast and all of the trailers just looked like more of the same. I knew I wouldn’t see it in theaters, but I’d definitely watch it online or when it comes out on TV. Luckily, I was able to check it out online and actually was super happy with 300: Rise of an Empire, I ended up liking it much more than the first one.
So the plot of Rise of an Empire actually takes place across the time period of before, during, and after the original 300 movie but focuses on the Greeks and how they handled the entire situation. The main character is Greek general Themistokles who is a really cool lead who seems to be a smarter warrior with more thought allocated towards strategy and tactics. He’s a fine replacement for Leonidas and I loved watching him fight throughout the movie. On the other side, Eva Green plays the purely evil Atremisia; a brutal fighter and successful naval commander. Green was really awesome in her role and played a really fierce character that she seemed to fit into really well. Her look was pretty dark and I thought that she did a great job at playing the villain.
The action and fighting scenes are just as awesome as the first one, with the bloodshed effects definitely being toned down a bit, which I liked. The battle scenes pretty much all took place at sea with a combination of naval ship to ship battles as well as plenty of physical battles, it was awesome. The battle scenes in this movie seemed so much cooler than the last, mainly because of Themistokles and how much he wrecks people. 300 Rise of an Empire is pure action, and while it comes from some type of historical foundation, a large part of my interest in viewing the film comes from wanting to see some sweet fight scenes.
While I didn’t expect much from 300 Rise of an Empire, it definitely delivered more than I could anticipated; however, it of course still had its faults. My largest problem with the film came with one completely unnecessary scene that I felt totally disrupted the flow and definitely shook me out of the trance it had gotten me into. The scene was when Themistokles travels to a neutral ship to speak with Artemisia and the two end up having a power struggle through some aggressive sex – the whole scene was predictable and it just didn’t fit at all. Somehow, I was able to get past that and still fall back into the movie which returned to form and held up for the rest of the duration. All of the problems with 300 Rise of an Empire just felt like unnecessary ways to connect or familiarize itself with the original; whether it be the sex, the return of main characters now as minor characters, or flashbacks of the original film and its main cast, it all just felt like it was trying to say “don’t forget this is related to the original!” when it didn’t need to at all. 300 Rise of an Empire easily held up well as its own film and I thought was actually better thought out.
Overall, 300 Rise of an Empire delivers exactly what you would expect it to; action set during a past time period with big battles and lots of death. If you enjoyed the original movie, I think that you will definitely like this one as well. I at least appreciate it as an extension to the first that fills in some more details to the war and situation. As YouTube reviewer, Jeremy Jahns, put it- it would be cool to see someone splice the two films together to create a long epic version. I thought that Eva Green was super good at being super bad in this movie and Sullivan Stapleton was awesome as Themistokles, another kickass warrior lead to follow up Gerard Butler’s Leonidas. If you didn’t enjoy the first 300 movie, then you’ll be hit or miss with this one; I know plenty of people who just don’t like the on-screen graphic novel style (this and Sin City) and think it’s too overdone, which doesn’t change in this one. 300: Rise of an Empire was a solid follow up to 300 that didn’t leave me in disgust that they made a sequel and I definitely enjoyed this one, written by Zack Snyder and Kurt Johnstad, that is based off of Frank Miller’s graphic novel – but definitely would say I love it as a rainy day movie. If you have nothing to do and see it on, it’s definitely a good one to check out at some point, but what you see is what you get.