The annoyances brought on by this movie are too many to name. Certainly, Rise of an Empire fails at being a good action film and a good film in general. Boredom will settle in after the first five minutes, and within those five minutes, you will be bombarded with hundreds of slow motion sequences.
Rise of an Empire tells the Battle of Artemisium and Battle of Salamis in horribly fictionalized detail, while glancing back at certain other battles in elongated, unnecessary back stories that are almost as long as the main story. The film teeters on familiar territory, even taking the audience back to scenes from the first film. However, this is just a tease, because the director knows Rise of an Empire won't be that good. Then, it begins. The battles are long and drawn-out thanks to the overuse of slow motion and special effects. Characters are put on screen as eye candy rather than humans to care about. Blood appears black for the MPAA's sake, and an awkward sex scene between the hero and villain. Behind a shield of glitzy violence hides utter stupidity. Unfortunately, you don't have to look that hard to spot it.
The trouble with this film wasn't the flat characters, bloated action or ear-plugging dialogue. It was the spectacle. 300 wasn't that smart of a film either, but it hid its troubles well, by giving spectacle and a style of special effects that audiences had never seen. If you saw 300, then you've seen this film. Rise of an Empire is untamed in special effects. Every sword slash is followed with a gallon of blood. Every jump, kick, or run is slowed down so the audience can hear the clash of steel, the growl of men, or the crack of hulls from ships. It depreciates the quality and beauty of the first film. Once the first battle is over you'll be so desensitized by the film's lust of violence that every other battle will be unstimulating.
In 2006, when 300 was released, I remember so many critics complaining about the "times." How 300 was a sign of how numb people were, to watch brute violence and euphoric nudity onscreen for nearly two hours. Critics waived away the majestic special effects which made the film brilliant. Rise of an Empire is a sign of how numb people have become to the sights of violence and sex. There's never a calm moment. Every scene is filled with latent anger. It is only until the film's feral sex scene that the tension is released, but even then, the scene is slapped with choking, throwing, growls, moans, and force. Then, the film ends with swords and spears as to allow another ultra-violent, unnecessary sequel. Rise of an Empire is a disgrace to everything that made 300 magnificent.
Good Qualities: Nothing, because I've seen this all before in a better film with a better cast and better effects.
Bad Qualities: This film tries so hard to one-up the last, that it all becomes the same routine with every scene.