When I posted the review of **300** on my blog (http://cinemadave.livejournal.com/
) seven years ago, the views were outstanding. The first responses that I received were complimentary, especially from an individual claiming to be in the military. Eventually the responses turned sour, nasty and insulting. The Iranian government banned **300** due to the depiction of the Persian Army. Seven years later, this entry still receives a regular dosage of spam.
While not as good as it's predecessor, **300 Rise of An Empire** has opened with a strong box office, revealing that ticket buyers enjoy watching history taught by comic books. Based on Frank Miller's graphic novels, this new **300** is more of a companion piece than a direct sequel to the old **300.**
**300 Rise of an Empire** opens a generation before the events of the first movie. King Darius is killed by an arrow shot by Themistocles (Sullivan Stapleton) in battle. The late King Darius was the father of Xeres (Rodrigo Santoro) , a deluded individual who proclaims himself a god. While the delusional King seeks the spotlight, behind the scenes Artemisia (Eva Green) pulls the strings of Persian politics. Undefeated as the Admiral of the Seas, Artemisia seeks to avenge the glory of King Darius.
As a ragtag selection of city states, Greece is a bickering democracy awaiting to be conquered. Themistocles, an Athenian, is fully aware of these political problems and desperately seeks cooperation with the Spartans, especially Queen Gorgo (Lena Headey). Gorgo is the widow of the King whose army of 300 Spartans were slaughtered by the Xeres and his Persian Army of thousands. Themistocles is fully aware that Artemisia has to power to crush the bickering Greek Isle.
Like the first **300,** the computer graphics create vivid action scenes involving navy battles. Unlike the first **300,** this new movie seems sloppy in direction. Utilizing the 3D technology, **300 Rise of an Empire** features too many scenes of splattered blood floating in the air.
Despite some disappointing visuals, **300 Rise of An Empire** is a fun movie to learn about Greek and Persian history. While Sullivan Stapleton is a likeable leading man, it is the women who rule this empire. While reprising her role from the first movie, Lena Headey gives a stoic performance with simmering rage. As the angry Artemisia, Eva Green is given many memorable moments with a sword.
As the title role in **Frank Miller's Sin City A Dame to Kill For** Eva Green cements her image as today's femme fatale. While **300 Rise of An Empire** is a matinee price movie only, the trailer for **Sin City 2** is worth seeing.