Movie Review- ‘Rise of an Empire’ lives up to hype

Robert Mullen, Sports Editor

Sequels these days are usually bad, but fans of the original “300” will love “300: Rise of an Empire,” and they won’t be the only ones who end up enjoying this stylistic action flick.
“Rise of an Empire” for the most part runs concurrent with the original film, though its focus is different. While the first film’s attention is fixed almost wholly on the Spartans and the battle of Thermopylae, “Rise of an Empire” gives the Athenian’s perspective, and looks at the larger picture of the Greco-Persian war.
Marathon, Artemisium, and Salamis all take their turn under the spotlight, and Athens gets to take its jabs at Sparta. In fact, several events that viewers saw from the Spartan perspective are seen from the Athenians, and there are several take-that’s’ sprinkled through the dialogue directed at lines from the first film.
Like “300,” “Rise of an Empire” is, in the very broadest of senses, historically accurate. There was a war between Greece and Persia, the main characters did exist, and each portrayed a battle that really happened, albeit most historians will have no choice but to facepalm the stylistic way the director chose to portray them. There are also more moments of blatant fantasy than in the first film, though like in the first movie, these can be explained away as the telling of an unreliable narrator.
As far as style goes, the film follows right in the footsteps of “300.” Muscled and toned Greeks wear very little besides underwear and cloaks and the scenery is gray enough to make a nuclear winter envious.
There’s enough slow motion to put the “Matrix” series to shame, and within the first 10 minutes enough blood had been spilled to fill a dozen blood banks. The fight scenes are beautiful and smooth, and viewers will feel pumped during every battle.
The acting is solid overall, but true to the form of this kind of movie, lines are often delivered in a hammy bombastic fashion that at times can get rather old, and sadly there aren’t any moments that will rival Gerard Butler’s famous lines as King Leonidas. Surprisingly, Eva Green is actually the weakest actor in the film, but even then she isn’t terrible as the Persian Admiral Artemisia.
Probably the weakest part of this film is the ending. It just doesn’t successfully portray that desperate last stand no matter how hard it tries, and when the cavalry arrives, it just isn’t satisfying.