The 300 franchise can only be three things to the comic and film world-at-large.
1, a brilliant storyboard-to-film for Frank Miller fans – the creator of the fabulous universe that is Sin City and the original 300 and it’s successor ‘Xerxes’ which the second film is based on.
2, if you’re a ‘swords and sandals’ Empirical history fan and
3, if you’re into the ‘Game of Thrones’ and ‘Spartacus’ TV entities.
If you’ve ticked one of the above then you’ve already heard of 300: Rise Of An Empire, directed by Noam Murro.
This film serves as a prequel, runs concurrently to the 2007 predecessor and is also a sequel all rolled into one hot piece of cinematic beauty.
With most of the narrative coming from Lena Headey’s reprisal as Queen Gorgo, the widowed queen of King Leonidas (played by Gerard Butler in the 2007 film), we’re met with the backstory of Xerxes and faced, head on with the psychopathic Commander of the Persian army, Artemisia (played by Eva Green).
Eva Green gets about 40% of screen time alongside Australian actor Sullivan Stapleton who plays the Greek-Athenian general warrior Themistokles, who decades earlier, albeit rather regretfully, fired a single arrow into the heart of Xerxes’ father. A relatively big mistake that caused Persia to declare war against a then un-unified Greece. A mess that was made bigger due to Queen Gorgo denying any assistance from the Spartan army to Themistokles after the loss of King Leonidas and his 300 men at the legendary Hot Gates. This leaves the Athenian general to take on the revenge mad Artemisia and her extensive Persian fleet with a small band of farmers, tradesmen, poets and their flat sea barges.
It’s R rating is appropriate based on a particular scene between Artemisia and Themistokles that might leave a few with fogged 3D glasses as well as the amount of violence that makes the ‘Saw’ look like Alice in Wonderland. You’ve been warned.
Our conclusion is; 300: Rise Of An Empire is a film that is a beautifully cinematic odyssey played out in 3D and we’re almost sure that a 3rd installation of Frank Miller’s universe will probably be green-lit next week. We only hope that it doesn’t take 7 years to make it to a theatre near us. We give it a firm 4/5.