Based on Frank Miller’s “Xerxes,”“300: Rise of an Empire” tries to flesh out the rest of the story surrounding “300,” but it is too late of a follow-up to ride the love of the fan favorite; “Rise of an Empire” must stand on its own after the eight year gap between films but doesn’t have the strength of its predecessor.
Bookending the story of the Spartans in “300,” “300: Rise of an Empire” shows the motivations of Persian ruler Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro) and his transformation into a god king. His most trusted advisor is ruthless Artemisia (Eva Green), who has sworn to avenge King Darius (Igal Naor), Xerxes’ father, killed by Greek Themistocles (Sullivan Stapleton). When the Persians seek revenge on Greece, Themistocles attempts to unite the people of Greece to fight them off, including the stubborn Spartan queen Gorgo (Lena Headey).
Mimicking the style director Zack Snyder brought to “300,” director Noam Murro has attempted to rekindle the love for the fierce Greeks in “Rise of an Empire.” Both prequel and sequel, “Rise of an Empire” gives a complete framework of the story, but it is considerably less exciting. The Spartans are what made “300” so engrossing because of their extremely badass skills, but the sequel’s violence is justified as self-defense with less intimidating or memorable characters. The style is the same, but the same shots are overdone; there are much too many slow-motion shots of blood-spurting wounds. Plus, star Sullivan Stapleton does not have the commanding presence of Gerard Butler.
Though the film isn’t too shabby of a sequel, “Rise of an Empire” is unnecessary. The point of the first film really boiled down to the awesomeness of the Spartans. The second film seems to point out the failings of relying only on style. However, Eva Green fans will be pleased; both her strength and beauty are emphasized. And the 3D offers some interesting depth to the massive battles on sea.
Rating for “300: Rise of an Empire:” C
For more information on this film or to view its trailer, click here.
“300: Rise of an Empire” is playing at the majority of theatres in Columbus, including Studio 35 and AMC Lennox and Easton. For showtimes, click here.