Gosh that was awful.
Eva Green’s character, Artemisia, was basically the only interesting character in the entire movie. Themistocles was wooden and totally lacking charisma, and his weak attempts to galvanise Athenian troops each time just felt so lame. It gave a totally different vibe to that of 300, when each scene felt so much more epic and intense.
There is zero intensity in the film beyond the ridiculous amount of digital squibs. The CGI was okay at the beginning, but then for the final battle, it just went overboard. The pacing of the film was total bullshit, and the narration of Queen Gorgo was totally unnecessary and felt so ridiculously out of place. The entire backstory of Xerxes was also just time filler, time that could have been spent trying to talk more about the Athenians rather than the Persians.
Artemisia’s story could have been told in a way other than a flashback, which was pretty poorly done. But Eva Green’s performance was pretty darn good. She looked and felt like a viper waiting to strike, her intensity a far cry from the blunt and unfeeling ‘acting’ from the rest of the cast.
I suppose the film does help with the empowerment of women, although Queen Gorgo fighting was just plain silly, and Artemisia was supposed to be super strong according to her backstory; she had to die at Themistocle’s hands purely because the ‘good’ guys had to win. Beyond that, her character, stocked with brutal intelligence fuelled by cold-hearted vengeance, was completely undone by a burst of passionate anger. That was really, really bad writing, and completely diminishes her as a character.
The entire father/son dynamic of Themistocle’s ‘Captain’ counterpart to Leonidas’ own commander was just limp. The acting was limp, the son’s reaction to his dad’s death was limp, the death was limp, everything was just as soggy as a sheet of paper in that CGI sea. Those two characters were completely undeveloped, and their scenes were so out of place in a film that already had pacing problems.
Finally, that advisor slash friend of Themistocles? LAME. I didn’t even know he was supposed to be some bosom buddy of Themistocles until right up to the end, when he shared that ‘touching’ final moment. I couldn’t feel a hint of deep friendship in their interactions AT ALL. Zero development.
I was hoping for a 300-style gorefest with some epic choreography and machismo. All I got was terrible acting (bar Eva Green), terrible characterisation, terrible pacing and script, too much CGI, iffy choreography, a lack of intensity, and just all out mediocrity.
I can’t believe I just wasted 100mins of my life on this heap of junk.