300: Rise of an Empire Review: Mindless Gore Porn

Photo Credit:http://screenrant.com/300-rise-of-an-empire-spoilers/

The original 300 wasn’t the comic book movie to end all comic book movies. But it was a massively entertaining affair that was also oddly empowering. However, of all the comic book movies that deserve sequels, 300 was not one of them.

That being said, 300: Rise of an Empire could have been way worse. It’s hardly Blade Trinity, which made you question the quality of the slightly above average films before it.

The first half or so actually takes place at the same time as the original. Themistocles (Sullivan Stapleton) leads the Athenians to war against the forces of Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro), the God-King of Persia. He also tries to convince returner Queen Gorgo (Lena Headey) to help him unite Greece to battle Persia.

Meanwhile, Xerxes enlists the scenery-chewing Artmesia (Eva Why-Doesn’t-She-Do-More-Movies Green) to destroy the Greeks with her naval fleet.

The action is fierce and expectedly bloody. Director Noam Murro does a nice job mimicking Zach Snyder’s signature slo-mo style. But this film doesn’t feature the fantastical beasts that made 300 truly feel like the legend it was. The action here is almost always man vs. man, or woman in the cases of Gorgo and Artmesia, the film’s best characters. Rise of an Empire may be based on historical events, as was its predecessor, but it certainly lacks the fantasy element of that film that made 300 memorable.

Also, even though Headey and Green are fantastic, Stapleton does not make for a good lead, paling in comparison to Gerard Butler’s roaring Leonidas. Butler leant the first film an over-the-top but appreciated performance. Stapleton gives a boring performance for a boring character.

That’s really the flaw with Rise of an Empire, the sense that despite the outrageous amounts of blood spilt, this sequel is creatively toned down, lacking any sort of passion. Most people who pay for a ticket will get what they want: action and gore. But aside from Artemesia, this movie lacks a pulse. It’s the dried up corpse of 300, with not a drop of blood left to give it some life. Grade: C

By Matt Dougherty

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