300: Rise of an Empire (2014)
Zach Snyder writes the latest iteration from Frank Miller’s graphic novel universe. The film is not a sequel, but more so a companion piece in which the events parallel those of the original movie. The original film helped propel Snyder to fame. This movie centers on the battle between General Themistocles (Sullivan Stapleton) of Athens and Persian, naval commander Artemisia (Eva Green).
The back and forth physical and mental battle proves fascinating. Artemisia, who has millions of men at her disposal, is amused and intrigued by the guile and intellect of the Greek warrior. So much so that at one point she invites him to her ship in a “neutral location.” There she simultaneously attempts to seduce him into joining forces with her reign. Their rough and explicit, sexual encounter mirrors the see-sawing battle between the respective leaders as they attempt to come out “on top.”
What I was most surprised with this film was the humor. For a film that is gory and violent, there were many much-appreciated lines of brevity and wit. In addition, while Snyder has a propensity to perpetuate violent images, at times to a level of ad nauseam, simply for the sake of violence; I was pleased the more restrained approach to this film. Not to say that there isn’t a rash of stylized and brutal fight sequences. I simply think Snyder exhibited more self-control in this film in comparison to his previous films.
I should admit that I was terribly wary of watching this film. I still have yet to recover from my disappointment that is “Man of Steel” (2013). I am happy to say that this film was not a disappointment. It fact it was pretty darn good. The acting was great. While Stapleton lacks the same macho, bravado that Gerald Butler emanated throughout the first film, he more than holds his own in this film. Eva Green is fantastic as the villainous, spurned and vengeful naval commander.
Overall, I think this a solid movie. It is not a movie for children. This film earns it MPAA rating. I recommend you watch this in theaters. This movie is exactly what you’d expect: violent, graphic and a perfect movie to gobble down some buttery popcorn. Enjoy!
MPAA Rating: R (strong sustained sequences of stylized bloody violence throughout, a sex scene, nudity and some language)
Running Time: 102 minutes
My Grade: B
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