300: Rise of an Empire – 2.5/5 – Movie Reviews by Ry!

300 Rise of an Empire300: Rise of an Empire – 2.5/5 – This is a review for a sequel to a stylistic film from years ago.  When it comes to sequels; you will always make comparisons to the original.  When the original was a game change of sorts (300), then a sequel will get even more scrutiny.  Even with this extra critique, you still have to go into any film with the perspective that it is its own stand-out film.  This sequel is a film that follows suit, stylistically and action-wise, but the rest of the film is either over-bearing of excess or mind numbing.  Overall, 300: Rise of an Empire is a film that you can enjoy.

Premise:  When the 300 Spartans battle against the full Persian army, another battle was going on between Athens’s greatest hero and Persia’s greatest commander.  When ships and swords clash, an Empire will Rise, and a united front will have to prove why Freedom will always triumph.

When it comes to the acting, you have some returners and some new comers.  The list of the main players is as followed:

Sullivan Stapleton as Themistokles

Eva Green as Artemisia

Lena Headey as Queen Gorgo

Rodrigo Santoro as Xerxes

These actors/actresses do a good job in creating stand-out characters that define the story in this film, with an ever bearing stylistic tone. Even in their uniqueness, there acting does borders on ‘over-the-top’.  For a stylistic film like this, the ‘over-the-top’ feeling is expected, but there are times in the film where it is overbearing or unwarranted.  When it comes to the rest of the cast, it is typical caricatures that you would find in a film translated from a graphic novel.  You have your passive citizens, astute soldiers, evil antagonist army and so forth.

When it comes to the direction of the film, it follows a chronological perspective to the original.  With this film, it can be describe as a three part saga:

Before 300: Prologues about Themistokles original fight at marathon, the rise of Xerxes as the God King and the back-story of Artemisia

During 300: The naval battle and action between Artemisia and Themistokles

After 300: The invasion of the Persian Army against a ‘United’ Greek front.

There isn’t any real depth or deeply moving themes within this chronological directive in the story.  Within these three parts, you get a mixture of fast pace action, descriptive monologues and over-the-top sequences.  This plays over and over for each part.  At times, it is mind numbing to see the repetition happen in the film.  For the most part, the exaggerations are thrilling, as it thoroughly entertains through the progression of the film.  Once we get to the climax, it is both predictable but a welcoming sense of closure to the 300 saga.  What the final minutes turn into are great scenes of triumph within the film and the final front of the Greeks.

The visuals of the film can be described in one term; stylistic.  Everything is built against a green screen, with the intent to creating scenes of epic scopes.  You have sweeping scopes of Sparta, Athens, the naval battles and Persia.  Within this, you have much stuff that is propped and stroke color to action and characters.  At times, the green screen/CGI is very obvious, and can deter you from realism; especially the overused blood sequences.  In the end, the realistic mantra get’s thrown away, as the film’s purpose is for it to be saturated in the tone as if it is a living graphic novel.  The score in this film is very ‘epic’ in tone, left to create grandeur in the generic.  The music is something that helps pump up the action and pseudo-dramatic scenes, to create some emotions.

Overall, 300: Rise of an Empire is a film that does enough to entertain, but it isn’t much more than another action packed film, stylized for a 3D experience.  If you’re a fan of the original, you will enjoy this.  If not, you might want to pass or see it as a matinee.

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