Darker, bloodier and featuring phenomenal fight choreography and camerawork that outdoes the original. Eva Green proves a menacing villain that nevertheless earns our twisted sympathy. Delivers exactly what it should.
What is surprising here for a film with so many battles and so much bloodshed is just how awfully boring it is. Unlike the first entry, one never really gets behind the resistors here with no one really to emphasize with. Eva Green is the main reason to see this one, she is dynamite in all her vengeful glory. The style of the original entry is so copied now that even visually this seems somewhat old.
Black Sabath's War Pigs cover at the end did it for me. It added insult to injury. To use such an anti-war classic to illustrate animations of killings, after such a poor sequel... The first is quite a good adaptation, precisely because it shows what tyranny and warmonger antics is. But this is just lame, and it evens does the unthinkable and becomes fodder for all the crazed paranoid criticism around the first 300.
Like the 2nd Sin City, Rise of an Empire is prettier than its predecessor, even if there are a few sequences where it feels like you're playing a video game. Eva Green was the highlight, chewing up the nonexistent scenery but I'm still trying to justify a reason as to why this movie needed to happen. Otherwise this movie is a good-looking exercise in pointlessness.
The entertainment value has the potential to be high, but it sort of falls short. The visuals are so note-for-note from the original that you might as well just revisit it. Eva Green is bloodthirsty, and some battles are highly gratuitous and fun, but generally the performances are stale. Some of the soundtrack was pounding, the rest was boring. Generally it's a so-so affair, but not entirely without merit.
Unlike it's predecessor, this movie is self-aware of the over the top pro wrestling antics of it's characters. Themistokles is portrayed with far more complexity than bone head Leonidas. Is rare for Hollywood to produce R rated films anymore, so the glorious carnage was a joy to watch. Eva Green steals the show as the vicious Artemisia.