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2014

Sullivan Stapleton as Themistocles
Eva Green as Artemisia
Rodrigo Santoro as Xerxes
Lena Headey as Gorgo
Directed by Noam Murro
Co-written by Zack Snyder and others

Synopsis: Xerxes didn’t just come from nowhere; he was the son of King Darius of Persia, who was killed in a battle with Greece prior to the battle of Thermopylae. We learn of his path to become the god-king of Persia, but the focus is more on the commander of his navy, Artemisia (Green). She had her rough times as a Greek child, and is now ready to watch Greece burn. Unfortunately, the man who killed Darius and commands the Greek navy is in her way. Themistocles is doing what he can to stop Xerxes and Artemisia from destroying the Greek way of life, and has to ask for help from an obvious ally, with very interesting results.

Well, we knew it would have to happen eventually. Newcomer Murro has to pick up where Snyder left off. Impressive coattails to ride, I must say. Snyder’s 300 was a visual spectacle that highlighted the artwork of the graphic novel; Murro’s slightly more liquid effects don’t really measure up. I like the idea of the morphed story, starting out with the prequel, hinted at in the first film, ending as a sequel, with events after Leonidas’ death. But is it enough to maintain interest for 102 minutes?

• The abs are definitely there, but different. More ectos than mesos this time around…distance runners, not sprinters. Yeah, there were some in the original (Fassbender), but there was a LOT more bulk (the other 299). 300 shows this off in the slow-motion fight scenes, which works because they’re the army, but the Athenians are just kind of random, so not much to look at in comparison. Barely any excited gasps for Rise.
• The blood is runnier this time around. Not really a fan; I feel like it should be viscous and sticky. Maybe not as it’s pouring out of someone, but eventually…right? I mean, that’s science, isn’t it? And the semi-aboriginal war paint? That was weird. Not sure I get it. And it seemed like only one guy actually wore it into battle…hmm.
• There is plenty of violence and gore. Rape, too. If you can’t handle it in context of the movie, you don’t want to see this. The consensual sex scene was to be expected, but my goodness. I get that these are violent people and they are not willing to concede power, but A and T really need to chill. The Immortals are freaking out. So I don’t think this is an aspect that would make people want to spend money on the movie; rather, just a part of the story to underline certain character flaws. In Sharpie. The big one that rests on your shoulder as you write. Cuz it’s pretty awful.
• What’s with the horse?! And the weird dinosaur fish? And the blatant use of the F-word? I get that Artemisia is a violent person who was built that way at the hands of evil people, but again, CHILL. You’ve got two swords. Cursing at a man just isn’t necessary. Stab his ass and laugh if you want to insult him.

I came straight home to watch the original tonight, and there’s really no comparison. I didn’t really like this one. Again, abs and music were partially redeeming, but in the smallest sense of the word.

Weepy Meter: -1 million/10 The motivational speeches, of which there are many, can’t hold a candle to Leonidas’ monologues prior to battles and death. The sarcasm, which was moderately effective in 300 in the face of overly dramatic threats, falls flat here, so there’s not much emotion. Except disgust…some scenes were pretty awful.
Man Meter: 7/10 Just watch 300 before you see this. Then talk about it. Your stock will go up. Just make sure you don’t overreact to the violence. If you go see this, it’s your choice to sit through the whole thing. I warned you.
Overall Rating: 5/10 It’s a spectacle, if nothing else. That’s really all it’s got to go on, if you ask me. The first was MUCH more artistic, which makes sense, due to its graphic novel beginnings. There’s not enough slow-motion during battles to help us keep track of who’s doing what, but to be honest, the only characters we even become remotely involved with are Artemisia, Themistocles, and Gorgo, whom we already knew, so I guess it’s okay that we don’t invest much in the rest of the cast. War movies have to have dead bodies at some point.

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