300 Rise of an Empire (d. Noam Murro USA 2014)

 300: Rise of an Empire (d. Noam Murro USA 2014)




Please read ‘On Reviews‘ for a guide to how I write film reviews. Any spoilers are appropriately marked and, though I personally prefer to know little about a film before seeing it, there is a synopsis at the bottom for any who wish to see one.


Entertainment: starfish starfish  

Performances: starfish starfish starfish 

Predictability: starfish starfish starfish 

Technical: starfish starfish starfish starfish


300 (d. Zack Snyder USA 2006). The film (an adaptation) that reminded us of Spartans, Slow Motion and brought us the in-joke ‘This is Sparta!‘. Here comes the sequel – it was inevitable. 300 was a cross between The Matrix (d. Wachowski Brothers USA/Australia 1999) and Sin City (d. Frank Miller, Robert Rodriguez, Quentin Tarantino USA 2005) and the sequal is no exception. Stylistic and comic book like, there is a level of elaboration upon the distinctingly marvel era. (Action films are developing wtih the rise of Super Hero Films such as Batman Begins (d. Christopher Nolan USA/UK 2005), Spider-Man (d. Sam Raimi USA 2002), Iron Man (d. Jon Favreau USA 2008), X-Men (d. Bryan Singer USA 2000), Watchmen (d. Zach Snyder USA 2009), The Avengers (d. Joss Whedon  USA 2012). This seeming to bring on the Comic Book aesthetic that has roots back in films like The Warriors (d. Walter Hill USA 1979) but has been emphasised by Sin City and 300.) 300 Rise of an Empire is part of something new and although it serves to emphasise a recent tendency in film, it isn’t entirely original itself – as we shall see.

It is no mistake that the development of CGI in modern cinema has helped encourage the comic book aesthetic and the Super Hero film. The more elaborate super heroes have more elaborate powers that are often represented by CGI effects. Super Hero films are now easier to make (or it would seem to be that way) through the use of CGI.  300 Rise of an Empire certainly borrows a lot from Super Hero films. Considering many Super Heroes saw the first light of day as Comics/Graphic Novels it is not surprising that similar films borrow from the same style. This required the specialised Colour Palette in addition to the use of CGI. Though sophisticated, this is an aesthetic that is merely carrying on from its original and in era where these films are prevalant it doesn’t feel all that new.



In a film that concentrates heavily upon its visuals its easy to forget some of the other qualities inherent in the film. This, admittedly, would be to the service of the film as it would play to its strengths and not its weaknesses. 300 Rise of an Empire – a film about armies – strangely relies on two principle characters to drive the story and although they give some powerful performances, the rest of the cast feel underdeveloped. So, despite the good performances by the central cast they were unfortunately supported by complications in the script. In following 300, it built up expectations about the action sequences but there was instead awkward sequences of drama. These scenes were awkward simply as they tackled the difficult task of including the extra characters whilst also providing more background information to the overal story. This left action sequences unfortauntely ending before they’d really begun.

300 Rise of an Empire serves as a continuation of a style and a film – a film pretty conclusive as it is. This builds an unfair pressure. 300 Rise of an Empire was never going to fill these boots. A good effort but completely overshadowed by its predecessor. Visuals were successful but these were the successes of 300 not 300 rise of an empire.


Further Reading



Official Site

Interview with Eva Green

Interviews on Empire

Interview with Naom Murro

Co Opting the Comic Book Aesthetic

300 Step by Step

Sin City: An Object Lesson in Colour

An Analytic Review of the Comic Book Aesthetic Sin City

Super Hero Hype 

Digital AFX, Digital Dressing and Affecting Shifts in 300 and Sin City

Film and Comic Books



Whilst Xerxes was attacking Sparta his right hand woman, Artemesia, was attacking Greece. Here a great hero protects his lands from the invading horde.


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