The 388th film I have seen in theaters…
This afternoon, I ventured out of the house into the 50 degree air to view the latest wide release! Could it possibly compare to the awesome that was “300”? As always, the images are the property of WB and any other companies that own the material. I make no money off of this.
Set before, during, and after the events of “300”, the sequel follows the story of Themostokles, an Athenian General, who is trying to rally the city states of Greece into an alliance to repel the invasion of Xerxes, the Persian God-King. He pleads with the Spartans to join the fight, but Leonidas is busy with his 300 men fighting at Thermopylae. He faces off against Artemisia, a Greek born woman who’s family was killed by Greek soldiers when she was a child. She was taken into slavery and raped for several years until being left to die. She was taken in by the Persians and trained in the arts of war. She worked her way into the favor of Darius, King of Persia and became his greatest Naval Commander. She and Themostokles will fight many times on the battlefield…
as well as in the bedroom!
The sex scene was filmed like one of the 300-style battle scenes and it was actually pretty awesome, especially the one “humorous” part with the guards outside.
After the death of Leonidas, the Spartans are in mourning, but still Queen Gorgo refuses to get involved in the greater war. He returns to Athens to fight with what little Navy he has left as the city is sacked by Xerxes. He faces off with his 6 ships against the hundreds commanded by Artemisia. When things seem most desperate, the Spartan Navy shows up, led by Queen Gorgo, along with the Navies of all the other Greek City states to rescue Athens and repel Xerxes.
Sullivan Stapleton plays Themostokles. He is no where near as fleshed out a character as Leonidas was. He does just fine, but he is upstaged by another performer.
Lena Headey returns as Queen Gorgo, wife of Leonidas. She has very little screen time, but she has plenty of practice playing royalty. I initially thought that she would be the central female character, but I was wrong.
Rodrigo Santoro returns as Xerxes, the villain of the piece…or does he? We see a bit of his “origin story” this time out and its was fairly cool, but as in the case of Themostokles, he was upstaged as well.
Eva Green plays Artemisia, the Greek Born Persian General with a score to settle with the Greeks, and she owns this movie. Her acting was heads and tails above anyone else in the film. She might be one of the best villains to appear onscreen in a long time. She is the greatest strength in this film, as well as it’s main weakness. My thoughts on this:
This movie has one massive flaw that prevents it from realizing it’s full potential. The Greeks should not be the heroes we’ve seen that in the first film. With such a strong character as Artemisia, played so skillfully by Green, and being so well written, they missed an awesome chance to do something special here. They should have written her as the hero, an evil anti-hero to be sure, but still the main character of this film. Make Themostokles the basically good Athenian general that she must fight against, despite her respect for him. She could essentially have become a Captain Ahab, her hatred consuming her, leading to her destruction. This needed to be HER story, set against the greater backdrop of the Persian war. She captivated the audience every moment she was on screen, and she had the best lines of any of the actors. This should have been 300: Artemisia, or 300: Persian vengeance or some damn thing.
In the end, this was an okay movie that could have become an amazing movie. They just needed to think outside the box a little.