Fanboy Flick Pick: 300 Follow-up is Sexier, Gorier, Insaner, Fan Fictiony-er

By Luke Y. Thompson in Comics, Movies
Monday, March 3, 2014 at 8:00 am

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Insert saber till it spurts

If a boner could become a movie, it would be 300: Rise of an Empire.

The prequel-sequel-sametimequel (is there a better word for that last one?) to the zeitgeist-defining cinematic adaptation of Frank Miller's homoerotic ragefest has more arcing blood-splatters than the last, more carnage, more battles, more abs, more gaps in logic, just more, more, MORE...in 3D Imax. Mind you, I never said this was a bad thing. This is Sparta, and tonight you dine on money-shots.



A colleague of mine who I'm sure would prefer to remain nameless described the movie as a Game of Thrones fanfic - he's right about the last part of that, at least. The only thing that makes it Game of Thrones-like is Lena Headey - no, this is more of a 300 fanfic. And since what fanfics generally do is take the original property and amp it up with extreme acts of sex and violence of the sort imagined by an adolescent boy growing his first pubes, and the property you're dealing with - 300 - reads like a fanfic already, I suggest you do the (exponential) math. It is a great coincidence of history that the hero of the actual history this movie is based on is named Themistocles, which is only a few letters removed from "testicles" - but it also may be the closest thing we have as proof that God, or Zeus, has a healthy sense of humor.

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Both words refer to a penis. This should be clear.

Picking up where 300 left off, this pre-se-whateverquel then flashes back to the battle of Marathon, where Athenian hero Themistocles kills the Persian king Darius, creating a huge-ass grudge with his feckless son Xerxes, who just looks like a normal dude at this point. Prompted by Darius' better-loved honorary daughter Artemisia (Eva Green), a captured Greek now loyal to Persia, Xerxes follows the path of The Rock in that first Mummy sequel, and wanders into the desert to gain magic powers from a pool that makes you 9 feet tall, androgynous, pierced, and clad in a gold Speedo. These things happen.

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Historically speaking, Vladimir Putin is an amateur

And then, having established Xerxes, the movie basically ignores him for most of the running time, as it focuses on Artemisia launching a naval attack against Greece, and Themistocles trying to persuade Queen Gorgo (Headey) and the Spartans to join in. She says no, which makes you wonder exactly what battle that was supposed to be at the end of the first 300, if Sparta is no longer fighting the Persians.

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Themistocles and his group are distinct from Spartans in that they wear blue rather than red, but other than that, "distinct" is not the best word to use. Australian actor Sullivan Stapleton doesn't make anywhere near the same impression Gerard Butler did the first go-around, but then he doesn't have any lines as cool as "Tonight we dine in hell." Aside from him, there's a dude who has a kid, and then there's a best friend with perfectly trimmed shoulder-length hair, but aside from the fact that the kid paints a skull on his face near the end, they're fairly interchangeable (you never know, though - the "fight in the shade" guy in part one was generic until he became Michael Fassbender, award-nominated guy). Artemisia is the standout, not just because she's Eva Green but also because she delivers the best acting job in the film. Notably, she turns a sublimely silly "fight or fuck" centerpiece scene into something genuinely hot, saving her nude reveal for the last possible moment to really up the ante.

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