Excerpt: The virtue of the Athenians seems almost quaint alongside the consummate badassery of the Spartans, and so this sequel/prequel lacks the testosterone overload of its predecessor. Stylistically, it is similar, with its lengthy, uninterrupted shots of violent variable-speed action. The bigger budget and seven years of advances in special effects are also evident in the more ambitious scale of it all.
Excerpt: 300: Rise of an Empire feels like a tribute act to one of your favourite bands. They go through the motions, play the songs and look a little like the people they are impersonating but as we all know, there's nothing like watching the real thing. That's exactly how 300: Rise of an Empire feels. It's a, largely, new cast but one that feels like it's molded around the ferocious snarling of Gerard Butler's King Leonidas .
Excerpt: In 2006 a little movie based off a graphic novel hit theaters. It starred a then very unknown Gerard Butler and the movie was called, simply 300 . History buffs will know the number as the battle of King Leonidas and his 300 men as they fought the Persians at Thermopylae. This ill-fated battle was a visual feast for the eyes and employed some visual effects that have set a new standard in films today.
Summary: When 300 came out, I was wowed by a lot of the visuals because they made the film feel like it was part of something exciting and distinct. (Or at least a less gritty and more classical realization of Sin City , another Frank Miller adaptation that had come out two years earlier.) However, I actually didn’t much care for 300 as a complete, satisfying movie.
Excerpt: Parallel to the Spartans setting up their suicidal choke point at the hot gates of Thermopylae, Athenian general Themistocles (Sullivan Stapleton, Strike Back ) seeks to engage the marauding Persian war machine on the high seas. He leads his severely outmatched fleet of triremes against a horde of Persian warships, commanded by the feared Artemisia (Eva Green, Casino Royale ).
Conclusion: 300: Rise of an Empire isn't as disarmingly awful as its predecessor, but it still doesn't make a strong case for this brand of extremely violent action film to exist. Warner's Blu-ray 3D combo pack offers dazzling picture, even better sound, and over an hour of substantial bonus features. Nonetheless, that only goes so far when the movie is too shallow and gory to recommend.
Conclusion: Despite being stylishly identical to Zack Snyder's wildly imaginative adaptation of Frank Miller's graphic novel, '300: Rise of an Empire' is a passably entertaining follow-up that neither complements nor augments its predecessor. Other than for the visual design, the film's only genuine highlight is Eva Green's deliciously evil performance as the film's seductive villainess.
Conclusion: It's never a good sign for a "sequel" when it makes you question if you actually liked the original. Such is the case with 300: Rise of an Empire , which is so similar to the original, yet so perceptibly flawed, to the point where it reflects negatively on 300 . A sub-par copy of Snyder's visuals is paired with some of the most repetitive battle action cinema has seen (as well as too many speeches) to create a serious let-down.
Excerpt: As Leonidas stood with his Spartans to slash at Persians in 300 , Themistokles stood with his farm bred Greeks to pierce their rival army at sea. At least, that story proves enough fuel to spend $100 million recapturing the quarts of spilled digital blood and dynamic aesthetic for Rise of an Empire to exist. 300’s events take place in the middle of Empire , creating a sequel which is both prequel and sequel.