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300 : Rise of An Empire
So I was very much looking forward to seeing this movie. I had my popcorn primed and I was ready for carnage ! Sadly, what I saw was not what I had expected. This is not to say that the movie was not entertaining, that I was not amused by the not one, not two but 3 odes to that fantastic kick in the chest that was so famed in the first movie. It is not to say that I didn't enjoy how Eva Green embraced her role as the new adversary nor is it to say that I didn't enjoy Lena Heady's take on the infamous, "this is Sparta" quote.
I have one essential problem with 300: Rise of an Empire and it is that it was severly lacking in storyline. The movie begins with the current Persian king deciding (after very little prompting by Eva Green's character) to become a God and so off he goes into a desert where he finds a random cave with a pool of water in it. After a quick dip in this magical water he emerges no longer a man but a smooth and shiny golden "God King". My question is this. If the random homless people living in this cave saw these wildly impressive results why do they not also want to be Gods ? Regardless, the amazing transformation is never explained or revisited and this God King is hardly seen in the movie at all because he disappears for just about all of it to go and fight the 300!
Meanwhile Eva Green (Artemisia) is left to her own devices to deal with those pesky Greek farmers and their tiny ships who are giving her supposedly well trained troops and their giant war ships way more trouble that they should, leaving her (quite rightly so) to make her "You Fools!" face on more than one occasion.
In addition, the main character is now called Themistokles which is confusing because it always sounds like they're saying The Mistokles which means that every time they say his name it sounds like it doesn't make sense in the sentence.
Yes there was carnage, yes there was blood and yes there were a few mildly impressive tatics employed by the Greeks in order to win their battle with the much more war-ready Persians but I cannot deny that there was something essential missing and when the God King made his final cameo in the movie as he turned and silently walked away from the battlefield I couldn't help but wonder which empire it was that had risen exactly. I suppose it was the Greeks as the Spartans joined them in battle but I am no more certain of this than I am of the origins of that super magical, God-forging water !
*** (2.5 Stars - upgraded to 3 stars because Eva Green's face is epic!)