Today is the day. After months of eye-popping, but low on story trailers, Noam Muro’s 300: Rise of an Empire hits theaters today. It was written by Zack Snyder, so regardless of which side of the Snyder divide moviegoers stand on, it’s fairly obvious what to expect from this film. Even so, early reviews are controversial at best.

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300: Rise of an Empire is little more than stylish, say critics.

Here’s the quick rundown. As much as some critics have loved the stylish, gory look of Rise,  in terms of substance it mostly fails to impress. The LA Times’ Betsy Sharkey puts it thusly: “As much performance art as movie, 300: Rise of an Empire unfolds as beautiful, bloody, slow-motion machismo.” While it lacks some of the freshness of the 2006 original, she writes, Rise’s impact is helped by “passionate music perfectly underscoring this latest round of the "beautiful death" the ancient Greeks were so poetic about.”

Watch the trailer below.

Rise of an Empire’s story unfolds at roughly the same time as the original, but looks at a different battle to focus on - "300's" Thermopylae clash at the Hot Gates. This one is by sea and led by the slightly less buff but more philosophical Themistokles (Sullivan Stapleton), an Athenian naval general and part-time politician. However, the still shiny, still over-the-top Xerxes is the antagonist again. The story is mostly told through the eyes of Queen Gorgo (Lena Headey), who impresses as a narrator of mythology.

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Lena Heady's narration often elevates the film above mediocrity.

But the woman to watch in this one is definitely Eva Green’s Artemisia and, according to The Chicago Tribune’s Michael Philips, Green easily dominates the proceedings. In fact, he says, the lack of nuance in Frank Miller’s original story means that this film “wouldn’t be much without Green” adding some much needed depth.

Watch Green in her element as Artemisia in the clip below.

Most critics aren’t overly impressed with Rise, but while some can find one or two redeeming aspects, The Washington Post’s review is clear – any moviegoer’s money would be better spent elsewhere. According to Anne Hornaday, this sort-of sequel doesn’t have the visual style of the Zack Snyder-helmed original. Without it, it’s just: “a series of lazy filmmaking tics, including fetishistic slow-motion shots of blood, water and sweat, as well as sundry dismemberments, impalings and decapitations” – and those are its better moments.

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The best part has to be Eva Green's bloodthirsty Artemisia.