Anyone reading this, who remembers this line?
“This! Is! Sparta!”
If you do, you must still remember 300 and you either love it or hate it. To be honest, when I found out about the sequel especially when the trailer came out, I kind of wondered if 300 was even still relevant because of how long it took for a sequel to come by. But apparently it still is given that it reached number one at the box office. Admittedly, it’s been a while since I’ve seen 300 but even then, I get the gist of the original film and know some key elements such as the death of King Leonidas and the God-King. Him, I’ll get to, soon. However it’s interesting to note that because Zack Snyder was filming Man of Steel at the time, in the directing’s chair is Noam Murro, the director of Smart People.
Though Snyder did stay on to produce and co-write the script though barely anyone from the original returned save for a few select actors.
Now here’s the thing you need to know about this film, it’s not just a sequel; it’s a midquel. The Spartans including Leonidas himself have been namedropped a couple of times save for archive footage of Gerard Butler. Basically the Athenians wish to fight the Persians but they first ask for the help of King Leonidas but is consulting the Oracle. No go there. However he does meet up with his wife Queen Gorgo whose only role in this is actually narrating the film’s events by the way.
And doesn’t do much until the end unfortunately but I’ll get to that soon. I have to give the film credit for not trying to emulate what made the film so popular with a lot of people. There weren’t many lines designed to become memes just to replicate “This! Is! Sparta!” and it’s a nice change of pace to have the Athenians the main protagonists this time and yes, just like the Spartans, they’re shirtless so get ready for more fan service for the women and gay men.
I mean the thing is, in the back of my mind; I probably thought if they were going to do a sequel, they’d have to make the first one again. But thankfully the filmmakers decided not tog that route and instead concentrate on the rest of the film’s universe around them. The acting is decent, it’s kind of solid but save for one actress; there’s not really a stand out performance by anyone. Nobody’s that memorable except whatever they do whether it’d be in an action scene or involves a sex scene.
And remember I said Queen Gorgo’s role is narrating the film? I’m not kidding, Lena Headey has a few scenes and only contributes something to the very end of the film which to be fair, she does get an awesome moment when she charges into battle with the rest of the Spartans-barefoot. She was alright too I guess but she’s kind of waste in the film overall.
But the biggest highlight in the acting department? Eva Green as Artemisia. She probably wasn’t that interesting in the finished script but Eva made the character into probably one of the most interesting and awesome characters in film. Mind you, there’s one particular line that didn’t work even on her delivery that really reeks of a 14 year old writing it. Not a very good sign. But there’s a reason she’s the most interesting character in the entire film. In fact, she’s the reason Xerxes became the God-King when his father Darius died in battle claiming that what had happened was a challenge and ultimately his search ended up allowing him to become the God-King. Technically she was a Greek girl adopted by the Persians who trained her and ultimately became the force of nature that she is.
Mind you, she didn’t really do much aside from cutting the head of one of her opponents but her presence was always a bit intimidating and the wait to see her in action in the climax was all worth it dishing out the most brutal death scenes in the entire film. Some characters however, despite some importance don’t seem to make much of an impact. I mean literally, the God-King doesn’t do much aside from his origin story. Not to mention, and this confused me right at the end of the film. Everyone charges to fight more of the Persian army and suddenly, boom! It cuts to the end credits.
This is an annoying attempt to set up another sequel and who knows how long everyone will wait this time to see if the Athenians and the Spartans will defeat the Persians and take down the God-King once and for all. Then again, I was ready to see more but I guess that’s kind of a good sign for such a film if it leaves you wanting more.
Other positive qualities include of course, the action sequences and the music-particularly when the climax kicks in is where the music score shines. Yes, there’s plenty of slow motion and it’s abused to the max in the final shot of the movie but I didn’t mind it that much. They’re very energetic, well choreographed with plenty of pieces to admire and for any gore fiends, this will satisfy you, I know it did for me.
It’s an okay but very entertaining film that I enjoyed but it’s not that special. If you liked the first 300 or you want a bloody action movie, this is your cup of tea but if you weren’t fan of the first 300, this is kind more of the same so find something else. Any movie that’s playing at your local theater basically.