300: Rise of an Empire (R)

7 Stars

When it comes to expectation, Rotten Tomatoes established a new dynamic.

Although I only made the realization days ago, I’ve been a long-time fan of Frank Miller adaptations, loving both Sin City (2005) and 300 (2006) in the theater.

Since its early March release, 300: Rise of an Empire is certifiably rotten with a critic percentage in the low forties. So I skipped it.

Despite a similar Tomato rating, I saw Sin City: A Dame to Kill For the day after it hit theaters and couldn’t shake the disappointment/frustration for a few days.

Fast forward to yesterday, when I realize Frank Miller’s other sequel is available through Xfinity OnDemand via HD rental for $3.99. I’d totally forgotten it existed.

Neither my time, nor money went to waste.

300: Rise of an Empire is very good.

The co-starring antagonist role, Artemisia, is played by Eva Green. Artemisia is vastly different from Ava Lord, her character from Sin City: AD2K4.

She’s more, ahem, sympathetic.

Green’s slightly less nude, as well, though I don’t believe there’s a correlation.

Eva is top notch. Artemisia is easily 300 Part Deux’s greatest redeeming quality, and I said the same thing about Ava Lord in the sequel to Sin City.

Apparently Green is excellent in any badass female role written by Frank Miller.

Let’s hope we see more out of her in the future!

The same goes for Lena Headey, one of my favorite actresses, who reprises a supporting role as Gorgo. Just like David Wenham as Dilios (Leonidas’s one-eyed loyalist), she doesn’t disappoint.

Love that Lena Headey. She’s a ‘Grade A’ thespian.

One strong aspect of the story is how clearly it overlaps with that of its predecessor. The interaction with the timeline from 300 is never obscure to the viewer.

Clarity has its downsides however. The director recycles bits of footage from the first movie, which always feels like a cop-out. He doesn’t stop there, even reusing original footage introduced in the sequel.

That’s the one-two punch of fair criticism that overlaps with Sin City: AD2K4, wherein footage is also recycled.

It’s a near-certainty this film would be great had it been directed by Zack Snyder.

The writing is very strong. The action takes place at sea and furthers the original narrative, while building the larger world of the story. It’s good stuff!

The battles are epic and beautifully rendered. The CGI’s not perfect, especially when there’s a horse on-ship, but it’s easily ignored.

The outro credits are fun, but there’s no stinger after they start rolling.

Overall, 300: Rise of an Empire isn’t bad by any means.

With strong performances from a solid (albeit lesser known) cast, I’d say it doesn’t disappoint!

To bring it back around: I think this reaction’s noteworthy in contrast to the lingering sadness I felt about Sin City: AD2K4.

Perhaps much-anticipated sequels received with critical disfavor are best left on the backburner until becoming available as a rental. That way, reality can set in, and expectations are appropriately leveled.

By this logic, if Dumb & Dumbr To receives a R.T. percentage in the mid-forties, I should skip it and wait on the rental.

Or otherwise expect severe disappointment, right?

5 thoughts on “300: Rise of an Empire (R)

  1. I didn’t particularly care for Rise of an Empire. It felt exactly like 300 but with different characters. It’s not that I didn’t like it, it just felt to familiar for it’s own good. Green was hands down the best part about this movie. Nice review, Steve.

    Liked by 1 person

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