Xerxes, the Persian God, has his Navy Commander, Artemisia, battle the Greeks in an effort to further conquer their lands. ;Greek General, Themistokles, leads his people to defend their nation from this tyrant and his invading forces.
300: Rise of an Empire runs parallel with the story-line from 300 (2007) which works towards its advantage. I am a big fan of the original 300 and I’m very glad that this “sidequel” was able to capture the spirit once more offering its audience something new. There was plenty of action to keep you entertained but the story wasn't as engaging which mostly had to do with it’s main actors.
Sullivan Stapleton (Strike Back) played the lead role of Themistokles. I thought he did well but it’s hard to follow up Gerard Butler’s performance as Leonidas from 300. There wasn’t a lot of background given on his character but it felt as if Artemisia, played by Eva Green (Casino Royale), was the central character. There was a good amount of development in her character over Themistokles which made you feel more sympathetic towards her. After seeing her play the villain in this and Dark Shadows, it makes me worry about her upcoming role in Sin City because I don’t think she’s great at playing an antagonist.
Besides not being thrilled with the main characters, I thought the special effects were phenomenal. I have no idea how an unknown director, Noam Murro, was given the reigns to this film. I thought he did a great job following in the footsteps of Zack Snyder who directed 300. Murro keep the visualization of the original film but was able to build onto a world that was provided for him. The battle sequences were awesome and most of them took place on ships in the water. The 3D was put to good use especially when things slowed down or if you saw a man mowing down enemies in one long shot. Bravo to Murro for tackling such a big project.
If you are a fan of 300, you will certainly like 300: Rise of an Empire. I thought it was an interesting take on the series by running parallel with the first film. I was dazzled by all of its glory in special effects and its epic battles. I can’t wait to see where the series goes next and it Murro is on board then I am.
3.5/5 - A Strong Effort