One of the biggest mistakes that “300: Rise of an Empire” makes is that it insists on imitating Zack Snyder’s style of filmmaking. Whether if by choice or by the order of the studios, director Naom Murro spends more time in the movie trying to copy Zack Snyder’s excessive slow motion and blurry flourishes, rather than actually trying to help this sequel stand out from its predecessor. Murro is so focused on convincing audiences that it’s legitimate extension of the original film, that he can never solve the movie’s biggest problem: The fact that it’s so utterly mind numbingly dull. The movie spends a lot of time in the first twenty minutes reminding us of the first film that it can never really build momentum for its own narrative.
You can usually tell when you’re watching a Paul WS Anderson film. For one, you can often hear him salivating at the presence of his wife Milla Jovovich, an untalented waif of a woman who Anderson persists in turning in to an action star, placing her on the highest of pedestals. And secondly, most of the best fight scenes are filtered through some of the most painful slow motion imaginable. I’m still not sure what Anderson fetishizes more at the end of the day, Milla or slow motion, but surely enough he revisits both corners with his re-working of “The Three Musketeers.” Anyone expecting a sophisticated, adult, and masterful adaptation of the Alexandre Dumas novel will have to wait a lot longer as Anderson is mostly content with subjecting audiences to a brutally infantile and wholly bland version of one of the greatest stories of all time.
“300” is really nothing more than a movie about war. It’s about a society that paints war as heroic, and beautiful, about a society that views death in battle as heroic, and unflinching loyalty to government as brave. And yet, we know better. But this was the society. This is society period. It’s not difficult to see what the subtext is if you look hard enough.”300” though is also a beautiful action film that stages every scene as a living painting. Frank Miller, in spite of my disagreement with his views, is a wonderful writer. And he without a doubt set the stage for many writers to explore new domains in the comic book world.