Premise: The prequel that no one really asked for, 300: Rise of an Empire is about the naval battles that preceded the events of the original film. It now focuses on a general of an Athenian army and his conflict with the Persian lady admiral who is Xerxes’ second-in-command. It has all the violence, boobs, and slow motion we remember from the first one.
-Pretty good visuals for what I assume is a smaller budget cash grab of a sequel to the first one. Let me just check to see how much less this cost than the orig- WHA? This cost $35 million *more* than the original 300…?! Well, ok then, the decent visuals have been explained. Seriously, you guys, there’s some pretty beautiful/badass/cool as hell imagery in this thing. It appeared as if the producers spent their $100 million better on this movie than the producers of Pompeii spent their $100 million. Also, the fact that these movies cost $100 million each makes me frown at the amount of money in my checking account.
-RIDICULOUSLY AWESOME/HILARIOUS MOMENT #1: Xerxes walks into a pool as a 5 foot tall dork, walks out of the pool as an 8 foot tall bald God King covered in jewelry that may or may not have been a sweet metaphor about political marketing.
-Eva Green is awesome in general. I don’t understand why her career never got huge. I thought her big push was going to be Casino Royale, but then she did… what exactly? I don’t know? IMDb says she’s also going to be in the Sin City sequel we didn’t ask for later this year. Is she going for the 7-to-9-Years-Later-Sequel Award? I didn’t realize we were getting so nostalgic for the mid-2000’s. Regardless, Green usually dominates in every movie she’s in. Same goes for Lena Headey.
-RIDICULOUSLY AWESOME/HILARIOUS MOMENT #2: Woman makes out with decapitated head of man she just decapitated. Girl power, amirite?
-I normally roll my eyes at unnecessary sex scenes in movies like these, but the one in this movie was so extravagantly unnecessary that it became awesome.
-RIDICULOUSLY AWESOME/HILARIOUS MOMENT #3: In the middle of a naval fight, a dude gets on a horse and starts jumping the horse from boat to boat, beating people up with his boat horse.
-At first I was like “Ehhh, CGI blood…” Then I was like “Heh, CGI blood…” And finally I was like “Hahaha, that’s a lot of CGI blood.” Much like listening to a Katy Perry song; as terrible as it seems at first, the more times I’m exposed to it, the more I come to enjoy it.
-RIDICULOUSLY AWESOME/HILARIOUS MOMENT #4: The director chose to include a shot of plesiosaurs eating people underwater for some reason. THERE ARE DINOSAURS IN THIS MOVIE. FOR. SOME. GLORIOUS. REASON.
-Despite being an evil empire of freaks and weirdos, the Persians have some pretty sweet naval uniforms.
-Nothing wrong with playing “War Pigs” during the credits.
-After burning Athens to the ground, Xerxes eats… …chicken wings…? God King, indeed.
-Hits a *major* pacing problem in the third act, which also happens to take place after the original 300. Is this the first movie to be both a prequel and a sequel at the same time? It reaches a natural conclusion (right before the events of the first 300), then drags for a few scenes, and then continues the story after the events of the first 300 for like thirty more minutes. It’s almost like they could have included an (INSERT FIRST MOVIE HERE) slate right before the final act.
-These pacing problems also made this movie feel a lot longer than the run time actually was.
-The CGI on the hunchback guy wasn’t very good. I don’t see why they didn’t just use the real make-up from the first movie?
-Missed opportunity for a cheesy callback line: “THIS MORNING… WE EAT BRUNCH IN HELL.”
-(watches a bunch of ripped, shirtless dudes fighting people for 100 minutes) … … … …God damn, I’m fat…
Final Thoughts: I think it’s kind of funny how a literal imitation of a Zack Snyder movie has become more entertaining than an actual new Zack Snyder movie (Man of Steel). Rust Cohle was probably right; time is a flat circle [takes sip of Lone Star]. I mean, I won’t try to oversell you here, 300: Rise of an Empire isn’t a great movie. And it’s probably a movie that most people won’t like, especially if you didn’t like the first 300 (seriously, this was just some other director being told to copy the exact, distinct style of 300) . But I happen to enjoy this kind of level of absurd action crap. For a film that I assume was created simply as a very random Warner Bros cash grab; it was still created as if the filmmakers actually wanted to make it, and it kind of showed.
7.5 out of 10