Director: Noam Murro
Writer: Zack Snyder (screenplay), Kurt Johnstad (screenplay), Frank Miller (graphic novel “Xerxes”)
Stars: Sullivan Stapleton, Eva Green, Lena Headey, Hans Matheson
Runtime: 102 min
Genre: Action, Drama, Fantasy
Released: 07 Mar 2014
Synopsis: After its victory over Leonidas’ 300, the Persian Army under the command of Xerxes marches towards the major Greek city-states. The Democratic city of Athens, first on the path of Xerxes’ army, bases its strength on its fleet, led by admiral Themistocles. Themistocles is forced to an unwilling alliance with the traditional rival of Athens, oligarchic Sparta whose might lies with its superior infantry troops. But Xerxes still reigns supreme in numbers over sea and land.
In the opening scene, Queen Gorgo (Lena Headey) narrates about King Darius (Igal Naor) leading his army of Persians into Greece in the Battle of Marathon in 490 BC during the first Persian invasion of Greece. The Athenian general Themistocles (Sullivan Stapleton) led his own army against them at the shores. The Greeks brutally and effortlessly take down the invading Persians one by one, paving the way for Themistocles to take aim at Darius, who is watching the massacre of his men from his ship offshore. Themistocles raises a bow and arrow, ready to commit the act that would make him known as a legend. He releases the bow just in time for Darius’s son, Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro) to watch. He runs to his father’s side but is too late to save him as the arrow pierces him. Xerxes holds his father in his arms and locks eyes with Themistocles. The latter walks away, with Gorgo stating that he knew in his heart that he made a mistake not to kill Xerxes when he had the chance.
Darius is returned to his kingdom to lie in his deathbed. He and Xerxes are joined by Artemisia (Eva Green), Darius’s commanding naval officer, said to be as vicious as she is beautiful. She holds Darius’s hand. In his dying moments, he tells Xerxes that it is best to leave the Greeks alone, for only the gods can defeat them. Artemisia pulls the arrow out of his chest to end his suffering. For a week, Xerxes sits and mourns the death of his father. On the eighth day, Artemisia holds Xerxes and tells him that his father’s last words were not a warning, but a challenge. If only the gods can defeat the Greeks, then, she tells him, he is to become the god king.
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