300: Rise of an Empire is the sequel to the wildly entertaining original movie 300, which focused on a battle between 300 Spartans and the Persian Army. The sequel is based on the same war that took place between the Greeks and Persians during the first movie, except this movie takes place at the naval Battle of Salamis, which took place while the Spartans were fighting the Persians at the Battle of Thermopylae. As far as historical accuracy is concerned, the actual battles took place, but you better get a history book if you want to get an accurate account of the real events. This movie series was created purely for entertainment and not as a historical record of actual events.
The movie is unique in that it intersects brief scenes from the first film to establish that 300: Rise of An Empire is taking place during the first movie. In 300: Rise of an Empire, Themistocles the leader of Athens is attempting to build a coalition of Greeks to fight the invading Persians, but he is unable to gain the support of Sparta, which weakens his military options. Unlike Leonidas and the 300 Spartans, Themistocles primarily fights his war with the Persians at sea at Salamis.
Just like the first film, we are treated to visually stunning battle sequences, cool naval combat action, heroic scenes of Greeks fighting Persians, gobs of CGI blood and plenty of decapitations and dismemberments. If you loved the first 300, then you will be getting more of the same with this movie. If you didn’t like the style and color choices of the first film, you will not like this one either.
As a whole 300: Rise of an Empire delivers everything that it promises in the trailers, but the wow and awe factor that I experienced with the original 300 is not present in this film. There was something special about the first film, and seeing the warrior Spartans going into battle willingly against overwhelming odds. The Greeks in this film although gallant warriors, are a little more reluctant to battle and their passion does not really come across in the film like that of the Spartans. As a matter of fact, when the Spartans do show up, my heart soared and I felt my heart beat quicken. Regardless this is a nice start to the blockbuster movie season.