Taking place before, during and after the events of Zack Snyder’s 300, 300: Rise of an Empire shows how Xerxes rises to power and how the Green general Themistokles leads a Greek nation that is still in very much in shambles against an incredibly strong Persian Navy.
Before I begin the rant on this movie, let me get the good stuff out of the way. The acting is as good as could be expected with the script that they are given. Sullivan Stapleton (Themistokles) and Eva Green (Artemisia) are great in the roles they are given. It is nice to see Lena Headey (Queen Gorgo) and David Wenham (Dilios ) return. And I do applaud what this movie is trying to establish. They saved the film from an F rating. Now that the pleasantries have been established, let me tell you why you should not bother with this film.
It feels that they took what worked in 300 and ran with it. The slow motion is just over done. Every. Single. Thing. Seems to be in slow motion. There are even scenes that have no drama behind it put into slow motion. Then there is the blood. Now, I don’t care if there is over-the-top blood. In fact, if a Tarantino movie doesn’t have over-the-top blood I might be a bit disappointed. But with this movie, the blood is CGI and just looks incredibly fake and cartoonish and really pulled me out of the film. The 3D doesn’t help either. I have written before in my movie reviews that I think the whole 3D notion needs to really be limited to movies that will actually benefit from it (i.e. Gravity or Avatar). This did not need it, and the background skies and the style it is rendered in actually hurt my eyes with the 3D glasses on. In fact, some of the CGI makes it look like this is a straight-to-DVD or a “SYFY original” movie. There is a scene with a horse towards the end of the movie that will make that statement make sense.
All that being said; the movie still could have been saved if they just had decent writing in the film. The plot is decent but nothing that inspires me. The first 300 movie is a Top 10 “Guy film”; you walked out of that film wanting to take on everybody and any one. This movie made me want to slap whoever produced because I could not get my 2 hours back. The writing at times seems sloppy and didn’t have the same flair that the original had. It just felt that they put this movie together just to make it in time for... I don’t even know what. If they had put just a another month or two into really tightening the script up, they could have gone for an August release, and I might be writing something completely different.
At the end of the day, don’t watch this film. If someone wants to take you to see this film, ask them what you did to piss them off—because you did something. I feel bad saying this because I like a lot of the people in the movie, but not even Eva Green, who I really like for multiple reasons, could save this film from being sunk like the Persian fleet.
In the words of Queen Gorgo herself, “This will not be over quickly. You will not enjoy this.”