While I enjoyed the first movie 300, I was actually disappointed by how many of the fights were just scenes in a montage; thus I was not thrilled by Rise of an Empire, which is a weak shadow by comparison, so much so that I was surprised it was also based on Frank Miller material (rather than just being cash-in).
Firstly, the protagonist is a milquetoast by the standards set by Gerard Butler (in the original), and Eva Green’s Artemisia (an actual historical figure), who stole the show. She possessed all the craziness and self-assurance missing in the mini-Butler, and I cheered her character all the way.
Secondly, I don’t like how Xerxes was once a normal person – I preferred to think of him as a weird creature from birth by virtue of his station, raised as the god-king. Rise of an Empire gives him a backstory that ties to the boring protagonist but makes him much less an ethereal all-conquering entity.
Finally, the action was okay, but not terribly visceral, which is what I want from such a movie.
In passing, Lena Heady is an excellent actress, but her role was small and mostly about politics in a movie about head-smashing. Also,