“For glory’s sake, WAR!”

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Evil-Persians-300

300: Rise of an Empire is the fifth movie on the list. A sequel that is actually comparable to the original? Not really.

Gone is the main star, save a few pointless flashbacks. It replaces him with Sullivan Stapleton, who doesn’t quite reach the bar. The movie attempts to give more of the same (more fights, more nudity) and throw in the element of sea fights. But without Snyder, it comes off as a great imitation, until you look closer, just like a fake five pound note. It’s still visually stunning but the direction is all over the place.

The story itself is slightly more complicated than before, and that may be part of where the problem lies. The first movie was one you could sit back and relax while enjoying because it was pretty much filled with bravado and didn’t ask much of the viewer. This one is at times real heavy on the exposition, delivered halfheartedly a lot of the time. It sometimes feels as if the actors are reading an autocue. The acting is not as good as the first, which is a shame because actually Eva Green is great as Artemisia. Having said that, the acting isn’t terrible, just noticeably different from the first. It doesn,t ruin the movie.

I’m not sure whether it is the story or the directing or both, but even though Greece is facing a ridiculously strong enemy army, there just isn’t that much urgency on display. And setting it before, during and after the first movie does not help at all, because it just makes you wish Leonidis would somehow show up and start shouting people into action. It also, in my opinion, goes too far in it’s portrayal of Xerxes as a giant idiotic man-baby. Sure, it’s from the Spartans viewpoint the first time, but this one focuses quite a bit on Xerxes and Artemisia too, and it doesn’t really even attempt to explain why this huge army fears this guy who has been shown to be nothing more than a coward the entire movie. I also feel more could have been done about Themistocles’ (Sullivan’s) character. You never really care much if he lives or dies.

I’ve also got to mention that there is a sex scene that is more cringy than sexy and feels totally misplaced.

Having said all that, once again the action is brutal and you won’t be disappointed if you liked 300. There is a new element of boat fighting, and the set pieces are great. I’m not sure a movie is supposed to have you rooting for the “bad” guy though in a movie like this, but because we don’t really know a lot about Themistocles by the end and, in my opinion, what with all that we have learned about Artemisia’s history (no spoilers), and that her fight scenes are the coolest ones in the movie, I was actually hoping she would cut Themistocles to pieces. My verdict: enjoyable, but not as much as the first. Still a decent movie overall that could’ve been improved with a few added/different scenes. It seems I’ve been over-critical in this review, but I just wanted to point out why this one is not as good as the first. It still retains most of the elements that made the first a hit, and it didn’t do too shabby at the box office either.

My score:65 percent

Movie info from wikipedia

Directed by Noam Murro
Produced by
Screenplay by
  • Kurt Johnstad
  • Zack Snyder
Based on Xerxes (unpublished)[1][2]
by Frank Miller
Starring
Music by Junkie XL[3]
Cinematography Simon Duggan
Edited by
Production
companies
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
Release date
Running time
102 minutes[5]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $110 million[6]
Box office $337.6 million

 

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