I was considering not watching this, but I did it out of respect for the first film. I kept wondering how many epic speeches you could pack in the span of 20 minutes? As soon as Themistocles (let’s just call him Theo for the duration of this) opened his mouth again, I tried not to groan. Either he was going to say something that the script writers were trying to make quotable or he was spewing one of the most unmotivational speeches I’d ever heard. He should have taken notes from Theoden in The Two Towers, short but sweet.
I liked the action sequences, even though they were mostly sea battles. I think if they had a land battle or two it would’ve added a little bit. Also, they relied on the first movie too much so this movie didn’t feel like it had much of an identity. I really hope they don’t make another one, but they will. Perhaps the next one will have a clear plot and identity of its own. I wouldn’t mind seeing Lena Headley lead Sparta into battle. Eva Green was fantastic. Of course she was the typical “I had awful stuff happen to me and this is why I became an ice cold queen of the damned with no emotional range” female character, but it was still fun to watch, regardless.
1. Personally, I didn’t care why/how Xerxes became a god. That is besides the point and basically wasted 10-15 minutes of film. The point isn’t how/why he’s a weird bald man who likes gold baths, gold chains and fairy dust a lot, the point is just that he is and that’s why he had some sort of legitimacy in the first movie.
2. If they were basically going to copy the first movie, they should have had Gerard Butler make a several cameos from beyond or something because he has a much stronger acting presence than Sullivan Stapleton as Theo. And I don’t know why the rest of Greece has blue capes and the Spartans have red. If they were trying to distance themselves with that minor detail, the ship had already sailed with all of the other blatant tie-ins and the historical inaccuracy.
3. VOICE-OVERS galore. If you need to have a voiceover for half of the movie just to illustrate what is going on, that is a strong indicator that you should probably be telling the story in a different manner. Of course I don’t mind Lena Headley’s voice, but the story is weak to begin with because it happens simultaneously to the first movie and relies strongly on it. Then, it’s explained to bits in voice-overs and slow motion. Some slow motion was nice for an artistic effect, but a lot of it was unnecessary. Case in point: Xerxes, just cut Leonidus’ head off. Don’t put the axe down and take 10 seconds to take it off.
4. The forced father-son dynamic. I’m not sure what we as an audience were supposed to take from that. It seemed forced, unnecessary, and the plotline could have been used for a completely different scene (like say, giving us another fight scene).
5. The ending–completely gratuitous, and I was disappointed. It was not an ending. I wish they would have shown some kind of conclusion and it basically seemed like an excuse to give Lena Headley more screen time and have Sparta show itself on-screen. Even though Headley’s war time speeches were better than Stapleton’s, it just lacked the fantastic, cartoonish nature of the first movie.
Blood and gore lovers will have a field day with this one, especially with the slow-mo blood spurts. It definitely did not disappoint on that front. Theo was not a strong lead in my opinion. A review I was reading mentioned the lack of abs compared to 300, and I have to say that I wasn’t primarily looking at that, but it’s true. If anything, they should have found more excuses to put Lena Headley in the movie, and to form a more cohesive plot that could stand up on it’s own. Instead of a lackluster version of this epicness: