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Based on Frank Miller’s unreleased graphic novel, Xerxes, 300: Rise of an Empire continues the story of the first 300 movie. Written and co-produced by Zack Snyder, the director and co-writer of the original 300 movie, Rise of an Empire takes place before, during, and after the time period of the first movie, and depicts a fictionalized version of the Battle of Salamis.

The film starts with images of the aftermath of the Battle of Thermopylae, where the victorious king Xerxes decapitates Leonidas’ head from his dead body.

Later Queen Gorgo of Sparta, recounts the Battle of Marathon, in which General Themistocles of Athens kills the king of Persia Darius the Frist. King Darius’ young son, Xerxes, is advised by his moribund father to not continue the war with the Greeks, since “only the gods can defeat them.” Artemisia is the (Greek by origin) naval commander of the Persian army, who Darius consider his daughter. She interprets Darius’ last words differently to Xerxes, where according to her, those words were a challenge, and she sends Xerxes on a journey. Xerxes returns as a “God-king,” with a changed appearance, and declares war against the Greeks.

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Eva Green as Artemisia
Eva Green as Artemisia

While Persian forces head towards Thermopylae, Themistocles tries to convince the council of Athens to provide him with the required naval forces to crackdown on the Persian fleet. Then he travels to Sparta to ask help from King Leonidas, but at the time of his visit Leonidas is consulting the Oracle. Leonidas’ wife, Queen Gorgo, is reluctant to help the Athenians.

Themistocles, finally, leads his men against Artemisia’s troops in a violent collision.

To say it simply, this movie is for those who prefer action over plot. The action scenes are the main positive element of the movie, but they are a too big part of the movie. It’s more a movie that is “action scenes+movie” than a movie that it is “movie+action scenes.” To be fair, the action scenes have very good choreography. The problem with the film is that it lacks substance, with its cheesy dialogue and lack of plot. If you are not an action/blood/six packs/sex film kind of viewer, then the movie will leave you either indifferent, or disappointed. On the other hand, if you like that kind of entertainment, then prepare your pop-corn and relax while watching some angry Greeks slaughtering Persians. For sure, the movie doesn’t come close to the quality of the first 300 movie.

Some people seem annoyed or turned off by the lack of historical accuracy. If you watched this movie for that you wasted your time. A movie that is based on a comic book is not supposed to be accurate, nor are its creators aim for something like that. The first 300 movie wasn’t 100% accurate, either. Movies like that don’t have to be accurate. Their goal is to entertain. Movies are not documentaries. The defect of this movie is that it’s too focused on the action scenes, where the rest of the movie is at best mediocre.

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Why To Watch It

1. Action! Action! Action! Blood! Blood! Blood!

2. You love anything Greek.

3. You love to see the west kicks the east’s butt.

4. Eva Green is really gifted. She is also very gifted in the area between her neck and her stomach.

Why To Not Watch It

1. You seeks something more than just impressive action scenes and violence in a movie.

2. Historical accuracy is among the elements of a movie that are important to you.

3. You hate the common British accent that historical movies have.

4. The “Greeks” of the movie look too much like northern Europeans to you.

5. Cheesy, badly written dialogue.

6. You would rather read a historical book than watch a movie.

7. Because Themistocles didn’t yell “This is Athens!”



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