Review: 300: Rise of an Empire (2014)

‘Dumb fun’ broadly describes 300: Rise of an Empire, and boy, it doesn’t get much dumber than this. Following closely in the footsteps of its predecessor, this belated follow-up tries to be prequel, sequel and sidequel by embellishing and expanding upon the original story, and on its own limited terms it just about succeeds. But what felt bracingly different in 2007 now feels a bit tired and silly; the heavily stylised look wears thin after a while, and the scrappy story feels like its been sellotaped together from offcuts and leftovers. Only Eva Green’s lively performance stands out from the onslaught of bloody special effects.

Full review: 300: Rise of an Empire | Film @ The Digital Fix

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Review: Man of Steel (2013)

Zack Snyder’s mega-hyped Superman reboot arrives burdened with great expectations. Not only must it win over audiences disappointed by 2006’s Superman Returns; not only does it have to measure up to its billion dollar stablemate, the Dark Knight (as interpreted by Christopher Nolan, here wearing his producer’s hat); but it has also been tasked with establishing a cinematic universe comparable to its Marvel competition, allowing other characters and franchises to launch from its muscular shoulders and finally giving DC a chance to catch up. Not surprisingly, Man of Steel doesn’t quite succeed in delivering the knockout punch that Warner Bros might have wished for, but there’s still plenty to enjoy here, and, crucially, further sequels are an attractive prospect.

Full review: Man of Steel | Cinema Review | Film @ The Digital Fix