If recent swords-and-shields action flick The Legend of Hercules starring That Bro Vampire from Twilight failed to satisfy your appetite for war, then there’s some salvation still to come between now and the return of Game of Thrones in April. Noam Murro’s sidequel 300: Rise of an Empire arrives in theaters this spring, promising to recapture some of the magic of Zack Snyder’s much-quoted, much-parodied 2006 hit 300.
What the trailers so far have been lacking is a bit of Black Sabbath to spice things up, but luckily the latest trailer for 300: Rise of an Empire fixes that by sending Themistocles and his men into combat to the sound of “War Pigs.” It’s a little jarring at first but it works, and while 300: Rise of an Empire still doesn’t quite look ready to rival Snyder’s original film, there’s some cool cinematography going on and the promise of some decent action scenes.
The casting for 300: Rise of an Empire isn’t too shabby either, with Game of Thrones‘ Lena Headey reprising her role as Queen Gorgo and Rodrigo Santoro back once again as the opulent god-king Xerxes. With Gerard Butler’s King Leonidas out of the picture, Sullivan Stapleton is the new angry bearded warrior, Themistocles, who is charged with defending Athens from ruin. Hoping to bring that ruin is Eva Green as the vengeful war queen Artemisia, who takes Xerxes’ side in the Persian invasion of Greece.
300: Rise of an Empire takes place approximately at the same time as 300 and covers the Battle of Artemisium, a naval engagement between Themistocles and Artemisia. Unlike the recklessly brave suicide mission of 300, Themistocles’ battles marked a turning in the tide of the Greco-Persian war, with two armies that were rather more evenly matched.
While perhaps not summer blockbuster material, 300: Rise of an Empire looks at the very least like a fun spring action movie, and it has a solid enough cast to help it find an audience. Let the battle cries begin.
300: Rise of an Empire opens in U.S. theaters on March 7, 2014.