300: Rise of an Empire

Warner Bros

There will be blood.

That's what moviegoers can certainly expect to see in 300: Rise of an Empire, the highly anticipated sequel to Zack Snyder's 300, which hits theaters on Friday.

Based on the Frank Miller graphic novel, Xerxes, the plot picks up with the Greek general Themistokles getting ready to battle an invading army of Persians under the mortal turned god, Xerxes.

Directed by Noam Murro, the action flick stars Eva Green, Rodrigo Santoro, Lena Headey and Sullivan Stapleton.

Here is a sampling of what the critics are saying about it:

• "Anchored by Eva Green's fearsome performance as a Persian naval commander whose vengeful bloodlust makes glowering King Xerxes seem a mere poseur, 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," writes Variety's Scott Foundas.

• "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," notes Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter. "His replacement at the top of the sequel's cast, Australian actor Sullivan Stapleton, just can't bellow on a par with Butler, whose cocky, over-the-top abandon and staunch physical presence leave big sandals to fill."

• "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," states Entertainment Weekly's Chris Nashawaty, who adds, "The film belongs to Green—maybe the only actress to 'graduate' from being a Bertolucci muse to a bloodthirsty action-flick dominatrix."

• "The picture is packed with vertiginous vistas of heaving seas and rolling storm clouds and landscapes of carnage and mayhem and blood. Above all, blood, gushing and geysering," shares Soren Anderson of the Seattle Times. "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."

• "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," opines Todd Gilchrist of The Wrap.

• "An epic spectacle filled with fantastic visuals that ultimately works as a worthy follow-up," writes ComingSoon.net's Edward Douglas.

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