I admit, I never liked the original 300 movie. I`m just not a fan of the cinematic style of the movie or the over the top scenes this produces.
The movie as we know ended with the fall of the Spartans and the united Greece army standing ready to face the persians, but this movie isn`t really a sequel in the manner of the timescale.
It actually plays partly together witht he first one, as the fall of Leonidas and his men happens somewhere halfway during the story in this movie.
Themostecles is the hero of the battle of Marathon 10 years ago, and now a council member in Athens when he needs to mount a defence against the persian horde. Back then, he had killed the mighty persian king Darius, but he curses himself not to have killed the son as well, Xerxes. Manipulated by the greek born admiral of his father`s mighty navy, Artemsia, he embraces dark powers and becomes the monstrous man now commanding the persian forces, in order to defeat and destroy all of Greece.
As the democratic states argue what to do as the 1 million strong army marches on their borders, Themostecles tries to unite them to the fight, and seeks the help of Sparta. They refuse, choosing to make their own destiny however (aka, the first movie), so Sparta won`t be lending it`s ships to the fleet he is building. Only 50 small ships as such engage the huge persian fleet, but they manage to overcome this first wave by ramming their midsections, and as such sink them.
The second persian wave sails in, and the Athenians retreat into the fog, luring the ships of the enemy to crash on the rocky coastline, Themostecles taking down the present persian commander in personal combat.
Artemsia sends an envoy to Themostecles and he accepts. She wants to seduce him into joining her, but after some fierce nookie he refuses (he, who would resist Eva Green, she looks ravishing in this movie).
The next day she floods the waters with tar and uses suicide burners to set the sea on fire and destroying a lot of Athenian vessels. Returning to the senate, he learns the Spartans have just been defeated and Leonidas`s sword has been returned as proof of this. But Themostecles manages to use this token as a way to unite the states and gather a fleet near Salamis.
As Xerxes ravages Athens, word reaches him of this event and the persians go to the all out attack so they can take down another hero of Greece. As the full might of the Persian navy faces the far smaller Athenian one, Themostecles plans on reaching Artemsia and kill her in order to break the chain of command of the enemy. She answers the challenge and they face off, injuring each other... but right at the moment Artemsia is about to be victorious, the united greek navy arrives. At the front war shouts go up as the sails unfurl and show the red triangle, SPARTA HAS COME and is out for blood!
Artemsia chooses death over surrender and falls to Themostecles, but lives just long enough to see the "wind of vengeance" from Sparta tear their foes apart, led by Queen Gorgo, the widow of Leonidas...
Oddly enough, I actually liked this movie better then the original. It is still not my style at all, but the naval aspect, for me, made it more enjoyable to watch.
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