Dear Zach Snyder,

I know that 300 and its sequel is meant to be a visual feast of violence, Instagram filters and super slow motion. But could you please in future do a movie where the Greeks don’t fight naked? Most of your audience only has one ab, as opposed to the six plus the characters in the movie possess.

Signed,
A typical bloke.

Featuring

Sullivan Stapleton as Thermistocles
Eva Green as Artemisia
Lena Headey as Queen Gorgo
and Rodrigo Santoro as King Xerxes
in association with many, manly man abs

The above is what I’d expect a typical guy to write to Zach Snyder after watching 300: Rise of An Empire. It is, as you would expect after the first 300, a visual buffet of abs, boobs, abs, blood and more abs with a side dollop of pecs. Rise of An Empire takes place simultaneously with the original and concentrates its storyline on the other part of the Persian invasion of Greece, the naval battle for control of Athens.

This time, there are far more than 300 soldiers, under the command of the legendary Athenian general Themistocles. The naval battle also has the Greeks stupendously outnumbered, but they are able to take some decisive victories with clever tactics against the Persians. In typical Greek fashion, they fight with little clothing and a cape while the Persians are far smarter, with at least some basic protection. Unfortunately, the Persians are still pretty bloody incompetent.

Now, I’m no military genius, but it seems to me that the Persians are rightly stupid. If as they say, the Persian fleet numbered over 1,000 and the Greeks only had fifty ships, why didn’t Artemisia, the hottest bad girl military leader ever, just split up the Persian fleet into two groups and land the majority of their soldiers while the smaller portion of the fleet distracted the Greeks? It’s not as if the Greeks themselves had that many soldiers on the ground either. The Persians are a bit like Zap Branigan of Futurama, sending wave after wave of men after the enemy until a predetermined point.

Apart from the general stupidity of the military strategy (or lack thereof), there’s another issue with the movie. It jumps around like a rabid Tasmanian Devil on a pogo stick, and the pacing of the whole is compromised. Where in the original 300, the pauses in the action to focus on Queen Cersei Gorgo trying to score some extra soldiers for support of Leonidas, here, a lot of the jumping around does nothing. Sometimes, we’re in Sparta. Sometimes, we’re on a boat. Sometimes, we’re in Persia and sometimes we’re in Athens. The other parts of the movie are spent in a hut where either Themistocles makes rousing speeches to his men or Artemisia is killing off her generals for incompetence. Or they’re boinking each other.

Ultimately, the movie suffers from a little bit too much of everything. The super slow motion action is pretty much standard now, as are the multitude of Instagram filters and the Persian travelling freakshow. The problem is that Themistocles doesn’t quite have the screen presence as Leonidas and unfortunately does tend to let the male lead role down slightly. All in all, it’s still an entertaining popcorn flick, just don’t expect it to be the best movie you’ll watch this year.

Rating

Ab-solutely ab-tastic action movie. Pity about the dialogue, but hey, you know what you’re in for!

Should I watch it?

Yes. Take your missus because then you’ll have an excuse to look at Eva Green.

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