Well, I took in 300: Rise of an Empire last night. The movie is good, but does not quite rise to the level of the original.
The focus on the film is the naval battle that took place between the Athenian Navy and the Persian Navy while the Spartans were fighting on land at Thermopylae. The Persian naval commander is the evil Artemisia (Eva Green). A Greek by birth, she is a true believer and follower of the god king Xerces. The Greeks are lead by Themistocles (Sullivan Stapleton), a brave and crafty general from Athens. Almost all of the action takes places on ships. Plenty of ramming (think galley scene from Ben Hur) and hand to hand combat.
First, what bothered me. The Greek dialog is pretty weak. It lacks the sarcasm and fatalistic humor of the original 300. That has been replaced by heroic, yet boring speeches from Themistocles and Queen Gorgo (Lena Heady). So the character development on the Greek side is lacking a bit. Also, naval battles are generally hard to follow. Plus, the build up to the battle of the two fleets gives the Persians a ridiculously, unbelievable fleet. This leads to a few scenes that come across as a little silly.
Eva Green is great in her role and was given considerably more to work with than Stapleton. She is definitely one of the highlights of the film. There is one sex scene this is, shall we say, very "interesting". lol. The action scenes were well shot and live up to the 300 standard.
All of the main characters are based on real historical figures. I recommend you Google them and read up on what actually happened on Wikipedia. Expect a 3rd movie since the battle of Plataea did not make it into this film.