Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes
New York Post:
The film works as a high-tech boy-fantasy successor to "Conan the Barbarian."
"Rise of an Empire" is not great by any stretch of the imagination, but it's very impressive in its single-minded dedication to creating a moviegoing experience designed to totally engulf its audience.
This highly entertaining time-filler lacks the mythic resonances that made "300" feel like an instant classic, but works surprisingly well on its own terms.
Rise Of An Empire retains the earlier film's hyper-stylized, digital backlot slickness, but without the Spartan rah-rah-rah that has ensured 300's enduring popularity.
It's just idiotic violence cloaked behind the guise of some sort of freedom fighting. Probably plays big over by the bench-press machine, but nowhere else.
"Rise of an Empire" may strike some as an improvement on the first film, if only for two reasons: naval warfare and the glorious absurdity of Eva Green.
The slow-motion battle scenes are technically impressive and occasionally elegant, but there's enough machismo here to choke a thousand NFL locker rooms.
There's so much crimson gore flying off the screen you feel as if you should be wearing a tarp like the folks in the front row of a Gallagher show.
Long on crimson spurts of blood but low on character, larded with production value but bereft of any other kind of it, "300: Rise of an Empire' is a 3D joke.
Although Gerard Butler's star has significantly fallen due to the 17 mediocre films he's made since 300, it must be admitted that he's missed here ...
Los Angeles Times:
The spectacularly brutal fighting is the film's main calling card, and in that "Rise of an Empire" doesn't disappoint.
There is much grinding of teeth, and mauling of history, and anachronistic use of gunpowder, until we plug our ears and desperately pray to the gods of Olympus, or the brothers of Warner, that they might make an end.
If the movie's action recalls video games, the dramatically artificial lighting suggests 1980s rock videos. Indeed, Rise of an Empire is so campy that it might work better as a musical.
New York Times:
The naval collisions and melees play out in panel-like renderings that are bold and satisfying for the first half-hour but lack the momentum and bombastic je ne sais quoi of "300."
Orange County Register:
Murro may believe that he's directed an anti-fascist movie, but what he's really made is almost as coercive as fascist melodrama. It's a big bully of an action film.
With its slo-mo ultraviolence, gushers of blood, impressive 3-D effects, homoerotic subtext, and self-important plot, this is a fan boy's fantasy, a four-star wonderment.
The lack of a creative driver behind the film leads to a level of fundamental dissatisfaction. The movie delivers all the necessary elements but their impact is dull.
A triumph of production design, costumes, brilliantly choreographed battle sequences and stunning CGI.
San Francisco Chronicle:
Green is fun to watch - she always is - but there's a point at which the caricature becomes the career, and that point is drawing closer.
Minneapolis Star Tribune:
"300: Rise of an Empire" plays like a collaboration between the Marquis de Sade and Michael Bay. Or maybe the History Channel and the "Saw" franchise.
Globe and Mail:
An extension of the 300 universe, like an add-on content pack for a video game.
The mere existence of 300: Rise of an Empire is worthy of note, especially the inventive means by which the story has been advanced.
"Rise of an Empire" lacks director Snyder's shrewd deconstruction of cartoonish hagiography, undermining the glorious, robust escapism of testosterone-fueled historical reenactment with an underdog story that's almost too reflective to be rousing.
It's flesh and carnage that the audience is here to see, and Murro delivers it by the glistening ton, pausing only for stray bits of backstory.
For anyone looking for a sense of script (forget plausibility), Empire is a Trojan horse.
Mere mortals of Athens, Sparta, and every city from Mumbai to Minneapolis, behold the magnificent Eva Green, and tremble!
"Rise of an Empire" is no fun at all - even those famous six-pack abs from "300" seem to be missing a can or two in this desperate attempt to up an already dubious ante.