Running alongside the storyline of 300, Rise of an Empire tells the story of the Athenians fighting the Persians on the sea. So is this a sequel? A companion piece? Who cares, it’s awful.
Now, 300 is not a masterpiece, in fact it’s not even an especially great movie, but all the shouting and the passing cool visuals made it kind of fun. So just to clarify, the two good things about 300: Gerard Butler and co chewing the scenery for all their worth, and some decent comic book esque visuals. Are either of those things present in the sequel? No. Not only is the action in this dull, but it actually physically looks dull, I can’t tell if it’s a “style” thing, or it’s just genuinely poorly lit. And the acting, oh lord, the acting. To call it wooden would be an insult to the National Trust. Eva Green puts in the closest thing this film has to tongue in cheek camp in terms of performance, but really it is watered down by the sheer awfulness of central man Sullivan Stapleton who makes Sam Worthington (Avatar, Clash of the Titans) look like Daniel Day Lewis.
There are also some issues with sexism in the movie, but really you don’t even notice because all you can focus on is how soul-crushingly boring it is. If you thought that those bits at the beginning of the Star Wars films explaining the backstory were too long, this might not be the movie for you. Half the film seems to be narrated in the most poorly written dull way possible. I think that really we all knew it wasn’t going to be anything special when Gerard Butler, the man who thought the Bounty Hunter’s script was great, turned it down.
Overall, you really don’t want to watch this. Honestly I’m telling you. If you want to see camp swords and sandals action like 300, just watch that again. If you want shouty men with swords but don’t really care about the stupendous amounts of slow mo, watch Gladiator. If you want fights on boats, watch Red Cliff. There is no reason whatsoever to see this movie. It’s rubbish.