Rise of an Empire is the sequel of the Frank Miller-based story of battle between Greek armies against the Persian Empire. After great success of the first film, ROAE builds on the story in a weird kind of backwards-spinoff way. We begin our tale a decade before the battle at the Hell Gates and goes with a parallel battle that takes place at the same time against the Persian fleet in the sea. This story starts when Themistokles ends up shooting King Darius with an arrow and sparking his son, Xerxes, to give his soul to become a God-king, who however just serves as a McGuffin for the actual plot.
The story is kind of predictable with Themistokles rises against the Persians who throw everything they can at the Athenians. While I thought that Xerxes would have a lot more screen time than he actually did. His whole back-story seemed for naught, because it added nothing to Xerxes’ character – or anybody else’s for that matter. Instead, the plot follows the strategic battle between Artemisia (Green) and Themistokles in a naval battle.
Most of the action in Rise of an Empire takes place on the Aegean Sea. So, it’s not as breakneck paced as 300, but there’s still an ample amount of bloodshed. While Themistokles hogs up most of the screen time, the real winners of the film are Artemisia and Queen Gorgo – the two lead women. Both are characters that viewers will gravitate to for their fortitude and wit. The worse part of this film is that it not only contradicts the entire story of first 300 movie but it destroys Queen Gorgo’s character as a whiny bitch. The development from farmers to proud warriors happens too abruptly to be believable. The story feels incomplete, as nothing is really resolved once the credits roll, and unlike 300, there are no real lessons to learn at the end of Rise of an Empire.
Rise of an Empire lacks story and character but is a one time watch.
My rating 2.5 out of 5