For starters, I want to say that 300 was a great movie, and could easily have stood alone without getting a sequel so when they announced that a 2nd film was coming I was pretty skeptic as to whether or not it would work. Most of the time when a great stand-alone film has a sequel, the 2nd film ends up being a painful attempt to capitalize on what the first one accomplished: case in point, an American Pie film after the 1st movie, Boondock Saints 2 (which was a sad joke), Short Circuit 2 (an even sadder joke), and the list goes on. Most women I know were skeptic but for different reasons: for the sole purpose of the fact Gerard Butler would not be in the sequel, and thus they were unable to enjoy the guy walking around in a cape and his underwear the entire film. Stupid, if you ask me – and most women out there who are that concerned desperately need to get laid. Regardless, 300: Rise was going to end up going one of two ways: excellent sequel, or mediocre attempt to get people to spend money on IMAX 3D with little to no substance. Fortunately this film lived up to the reputation of the first movie. The trailers did win me over, however, between promises of bloodshed, violence, and lots of crazy-looking warrior-people fighting it out to Black Sabbath's War Pigs in the previews. Check it out below because it's the time of trailer that has enough testosterone to put hair on your nuts.
If you have lived under a rock, or are some sort of pacifist weirdo who hates action movies then you may not have actually heard of 300, the 2006 film based on the 1998 comic series by esteemed comic writer Frank Miller which sees Leonidas and his Spartan army of 300 take on the Persian hordes of Xerxes who is trying to conquer all of Greece. It’s definitely a film worth seeing and a modern masterpiece of an action movie in an era where action movies and action heroes are a dying genre. Now’s as good a time as any to pick up the first title if you don’t have it already and you’ll be glad you did.
The second movie runs in a time-span which envelopes events prior to the first film, as well as during and after the first film in which Greek warrior Themistocles and his actions indirectly cause the rise of Xerxes and his hatred and desire to conquer all of Greece as a result. Themistocles finds himself in the midst of the largest threat Greece has ever faced and tries to rally the country in a united front against the Persians and their Navy, led by Xerxes’ trusted advisor, Artemisia. A little something for the ladies, Artemisia is a strong female lead in the film and not on to be trifled with.
Eva Green’s portrayal of the character was a real show stealer for me personally, not to mention she has a great rack on her which we get to see mid-movie during what has to be the greatest hate-sex I’ve ever seen in a film. Aside from these new characters, we have several people returning to the film, such as Xerxes himself, Ephialtes the hideous little hunchback creature from the first film, and of course Lena Headey reprising her role as Queen Gorgo. Headey really shines as a strong female lead in these films, and her work as Cersei in Game of Thrones is an excellent example as well.
Since the movie is based mostly on the battle of the high seas we get a lot of naval warfare with ships firing and crashing into other ships and so on and so forth – that’s not to say we don’t get the trademark darkened skies, glamorous levels of bloodshed and dismemberment, because that’s all here too. If you love evisceration, beheadings, and limbs flying into the screen this is your movie, especially in IMAX 3D. 300: Rise captures the atmosphere and tone set by the original perfectly, and it is a twisted irony that somehow the effects of the film manage to turn one of the most violent battles in history into a thing of beauty. The effects are just brilliant and well done to the point even if you’re a bit squeamish at violence, you just can’t turn your head away and somewhat admire the cinematography here. Fortunately it’s not all bloodshed as we get the telling of the origin of Xerxes and how he went from a whiny little weirdo to a tall tan pierced metrosexual God-King, as well as the origins of Artemisia and how she has come into the fray and what her motivations are. We get to see all of the politics of true democracy in Greece and of course a lot of dudes walking around in nothing but underwear and capes, although not near as beefcaked up as the previous film due to the fact this movie encompasses the rest of the Greek army and doesn’t focus on the elite-build, warrior-bred Spartans alone. Sorry ladies, this one’s our revenge on you since Artemisia is easy on the eyes. Although the movie is a running time of 2 hours and 20 minutes the pace seems to move rather fast, and almost unnoticeable. 300: Rise is definitely one of those movies you don’t regret the steep price tag if you happen to see it in IMAX 3D and manages to deliver fans of the original more, much more of the same things that made the first one so enjoyable. If you’re an action film movie-goer, you need to see this. If you’re male and don’t enjoy a film like this chances are you have a visible panty line. Mothers beware of taking your sons to see this as it might put them through puberty because of the sheer amount of manliness displayed in the film with themes such as comradery, bravery, and the need to strike any obstacle in front of you down. We definitely need more films like this to remind us that testosterone is pretty f—king awesome. If you’re aching for something to see in the theaters this is an excellent choice. Hopefully, they quit while they are ahead, however, as I don’t feel 300 as a series would benefit at all from a 3rd film.