Eva Green as Artemisia in 300: Rise of an Empire
So this is a weird movie to review. I wasn’t a huge fan of the first 300 film, so I went into this knowing that I’d probably hate the shit out of it. This is a blog. I can swear; sue me. I felt like an outsider with the first one because I was surrounded by idiots who loved it. They loved the action, the blood, and the slow-motion sex. Also, that Gerard Butler guy, who has gone on to do….The Bounty Hunter and Gamer. Great movie role choices, Gerard. I just didn’t like it. I thought it overused the slow motion action scenes with the fake looking blood spewing out. I understand that it is a total guy movie. All testosterone and guys with badass voices killing people. I get the appeal; I just look for more in terms of story and characters in a movie.
So I wasn’t sure if this movie was a prequel or a sequel to 300. Turns out, that was okay because it is a bit of both. They framed it a little weird in the movie. They show King Leonidas and his men slaughtered on the ground when the movie first starts, and then we meet Themistokles. He is a leader of an Athenian army I guess. And we see his story and the set up for the movie. Turns out, he shot an arrow through a king and killed him. This king just so happened to be the father of the villain from the first movie, Xerxes, played by Rodrigo Santoro. So we get a little backstory on him for once. which is cool, except it would’ve been better in the last movie when he was the actual villain. In this one, he is being manipulated by the real villain, Artemisia. That chick is a badass. She was a badass as a child, training to become a badass in combat. By the way, I loved seeing Peter Mensah being the one who trained her. Pretty sure he was the dude who got kicked down the well in the first one as well. But it was a nice little moment for me, remembering back to Spartacus. But anyways, all of this Themistokles and Xerxes backstory happens before Leonidas and his men fall. We hear about their deaths in the middle of the movie. So we get parts that happen before, during, and after the events of 300.
Sullivan Stapleton takes over the role of key badass for this one. But does he succeed? Yes and no. He isn’t Gerard Butler, that’s for sure. But he shouldn’t have been forced to try to be. Just because its a 300 movie, that doesn’t mean he has to scream every line of dialogue. This guy was cool in my opinion. He had a cool, raspy voice. He had a decent enough story and he was kind of a badass; just in a different way than Leonidas was. This brings me to my problem with this movie. Which also was my problem with the Pirates of the Caribbean series. Let me explain. The first Pirates of the Caribbean was awesome. Why? Because Johnny Depp owned his role. They gave him a character and he ran with it and made it his own; adding dialogue in the process. Then the rest of them came along and the writers changed the movies. They wrote his character based off of his actions from the first one. So, it wasn’t natural anymore. It was forced. Then we still get a funny Johnny Depp, but we also get just a version of what he was in the first one. They do that in this movie. They tried to recreate the success from the first one by trying to make Themistokles too much like Leonidas. With the shouting dialogue and everything. The guy was cool but let him be his own guy without trying to recreate something just because it was successful.
The best part of this movie by far was Eva Green. I love Eva Green, truly, but even if I hated her guts, she’d still be a badass in this movie. She chews through dialogue like a natural. She is vicious, cruel, and to call her a bit of a bitch would be the understatement of the year. She is given so many terrible lines that she still sells because, well, she’s Eva Green. “You fight harder than you fuck” comes to mind. They focused a lot of the movie on her and that was a smart move. Her backstory, motivations, and actions made this movie better than it had the right to be. I’ve always been a fan of her, ever since Casino Royale. I even forgave her for Dark Shadows. She is beautiful in here but she is also deadly. She is the one who really holds the power in this movie and that had to be one of the angriest sex scenes I’ve ever seen in a movie. And that’s not a bad thing. If not for Eva Green, I don’t know if I’d like this as much as I did. It’d be a mess without her.
Overall, I kind of liked it better than the first. Yes, it tried to kind of force Gerard Butler’s antics on the new character, but putting him aside, everything else in this movie was done better than the first in my opinion. The blood still looked like red pudding. Its still not an intelligent movie. But it was fun. I enjoyed it and I enjoyed it more than 300. The action was better, I loved that they went to battle scenes on the sea instead of on land. Loved that change, it looked really cool. The villain is a badass, which was much better than 300. This movie was unnecessary. Its a sequel that was made purely because of the success of the first one. It didn’t need to be made, but oh well, it was.
So, you get it by now. This is far from a great movie, but it is better than the first one in ALMOST every way and it’s a good time.
WHAT I LIKED:
+: Eva Green. Eva Green. Eva Green. Oh, did I mention Eva Green?
+: The action scenes that took place on the water were really well done.
+: Backstory for Xerxes, even if it is a movie too late.
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE:
-: Forcing and rehashing elements from 300 that weren’t necessary.
-: Blood still looks bad.
-: The movie as a whole really is unnecessary.
-: The timeline is kind of confusing at first glance