300: Rise of an Empire

When I first heard about this film, my first thought was, “Didn’t everyone die at the end of the first movie?” The answer to that was a resounding “yes.” So, going into this film, I was confused on how they would make a sequel.
After seeing the film, I can say that this is not a sequel, but the original 300 film is a part of this film. The events of 300 actually take place concurrently with a portion of 300: Rise of an Empire. That being said, this film’s story is very ambitious. It is the tale of Themistocles of Athens (played by Sullivan Stapleton) and his rise as a warrior, then his leading the Greeks against the naval armada of Xerxes (played by Rodrigo Santoro) commanded by Artemisia (played by Eva Green).
The movie is dark and bloody. The colors are very subdued, with the exception of the Athenian Blue cape of Themistocles which is bright and vibrant. The dark of the movie at times detracts from the detailed visuals of the ships, costumes, and sets; much the way the rain and dark steals from Pacific Rim. The grey of the movie is overwhelming. It is at times feels like watching video game cut scenes. The big difference is that you don’t control the action but are a passive voyeur looking at the carnage around you.
Carnage is just the right word for this film. There is death, death, destruction, and more death in this film. The movie is plot, tactics, then action, action, and more action. I think the first thing people need to understand is that this is based on a Frank Miller comic. Like everything I have seen based on his work it is nonstop gratuitous violence. The story is there, but hiding behind fight scene after fight scene.
The acting in this movie is acceptable. As a high point Eva Green does a great job portraying a psychotic vengeful military leader bent on the destruction of Greece. Her backstory gives insight as to what set in motion the events of the original 300 film. Sullivan Stapleton does an acceptable job as Themistocles. His delivery of lines is what you would expect from a comic book blood bath.
A high point of this film is that for the ladies who aren’t into the blood and guts, there are a lot of buff, topless men running around flexing their muscles. For the men there is a gratuitous nude/sex scene between Eva Green and Sullivan Stapleton where Ms. Green shows off her very nice breasts.
The 3D use in this movie is actually fun. Director Noam Murro makes excellent use of the 3D gimmick by using it to have weapons, blood, and ships come off the screen into the audience’s world. This, while a gimmick, adds to the enjoyment of the film and reminds the user that this is a comic book adventure.
In conclusion, this movie is not for everyone. This movie is targeted at a very specific audience. If you want to see an over the top action movie with a simple plot, a lot of eye candy, lots of fighting, and are willing to turn your mind off and eat some popcorn and enjoy the spectacle, then this is an absolute must. If the previous does not apply to you, then it is probably best you skip 300: Rise of an Empire.