300 Rise of an Empire was one of the most anticipated movies of the year the question was whether it will deliver the same success as the original film brought in 2006 on the screen and in the box office.
Whoever liked the original 300 came for the special affects ignoring most of the other elements in the film. 300 the sequel / prequel or however Zack Snyder defined this rise of an empire film stuck to the same successive formula that defined the original 300. It focused on the special affects, a lot of green screen scenes, breath taking fight sequences, countless slow motion scenes and mediocre plot that kept the talking to a minimum. It’s obvious that a film like Rise of an Empire wanted to shift all the attention to its strong points: fight sequences and special effects and hide its problematic Achilles heel – the dialogs. And that’s OK
One of the more interesting things about Rise of an Empire was how its creators managed to absorb the original 300 into Rise of an Empire. After all Rise of an Empire was not a sequel or a prequel it was both in the same time. Its timeline started 10 years before the original 300. Rise of an Empire had scenes in it that were simultaneous to the events of the original 300 and its closure happened after the first film.
Gerard Butler wasn’t in the film (unless you consider a few scenes that were taken from the 2006 film) and it was amazing to see how the director and the screen writers managed to wrap Rise of an Empire around the 2006’s 300, using all the original tools they had for their disposal (Lena Headey, David Wenham, Peter Mensah and Rodrigo Santoro).
Coming to this film I thought that Queen Gorgo and Xerxes will be the lead characters in the film along side with Themistocles but Lena Headey’s Queen Gorgo just like Rodrigo Santoro’s Xerxes were supporting characters. They got a lot less screen time the second time around.
Surprisingly this 2 managed to overcome their small parts in the film by making the film better with their contributing to the overall product. In the beginning I thought to myself that: Lena Headey had to small of a part and if it was that small why was she in Rise of an Empire. After a while I understood that she was not the centerpiece of Rise of an Empire like she was in the original 300. Queen Gorgo was one of the elements that connected the 300 from 2006 to 300 Rise of an Empire. Lena Headey‘s contribution was needed for the success of Rise of an Empire and she did the best job of the situation. Her final scene was worth the wait. The new faces in Rise of an Empire where: Themistocles (Sullivan Stapleton) and Artemisia (Eva Green) both played the lead roles in the film.
Eva Green gave an unforgettable performance as Artemisia and was a joy to watch. Sullivan Stapleton gave a lot restrained performance. It’s hard for me to criticize the guy because prior to Rise of an Empire I saw Stapleton in Strike Back and the guy is perfect in the Special Forces specialist. In 300 Rise of an Empire Stapleton plays a very different role to what he does on TV. Some viewers expected Sullivan Stapleton’s Themistocles to be an identical version of Gerard Butler’s King Leonidas but his character was completely different. Themistocles was a lot more sophisticated than his Partner. Themistocles was a thinker that planned all his moves carefully, leaving his enemies two steps behind. King Leonidas was more of a charismatic leader that relied mostly on brute force. Themistocles was a lot quieter motivator who relied on well planned tactical maneuvers that were based on deception. Themistocles was not as great worrier as King Leonidas and the 300 Spartans but he could stand his ground and he was the superior fighter in Rise of an Empire from all the participants.
300 Rise of an Empire was a lot of fun and it is a joy to watch. Sometimes it shifted from the actual history and moved toward mystical directions and presents events that never happened but overall it gives the viewer a fun presentation of the events that happened a long time ago.