'300: Rise of an Empire' is just about worth your cash at the cinema.
After the unexpected success of 300 back in 2007, everyone scrambled to create a sequel. Based on a battle in Greek history in which everyone dies at the end, following it up was always going to be tricky. But the film was also based on Frank Miller and Lynn Varley's comic book version of those historical events.
Eva Green in '300' Sequel 'Rise of an Empire'
So the filmmakers turned to Miller for inspiration, and he in turn wrote a new graphic novel called Xerses, centred around the battles of Artemisium. Instead of a sequel, this new film takes place at the same time as the events of 300, but on a completely different front: at sea against Xerses' military commander Artemisia (played by glowering scene-stealer Eva Green).
The film includes three huge conflicts on the water, taken from real events that took place in 490-480 BC as Xerses' Persian army attacked Athens. But the script also goes back to set up both films' back-story, giving Xerses and Artemisia some motivation for their vengefulness.
This not-so-subtle shift allows both Miller and filmmaker Zack Snyder to reinvent the original film as the first in a franchise that can continue draw on military skirmishes throughout Ancient Greek history. And more importantly all of the characters don't die at the end this time.