This review is dedicated to Andy Whitfield who has departed. His death leaves a void that cannot be filled. His memory will live on.
He was sent out to be executed on the sands of the arena for defying the orders of Legatus Gaius Claudius Glaber (Craig Parker). Spartacus (Andy Whitfield) was untrained in the gladiatorial arts and he seemed totally outmatched as he faced four of Solonius (Craig Walsh Wrightson) well trained gladiators. He was destined to die a painful death at the hands of the gladiators and in the process amuse the spectators in the arena at Capua. Contrary to expectations he stood up to the challenge and eventually defeated his four opponents and was pardoned and given the right to life.
However, he was not given his complete freedom but he was purchased by Quintus Lentulus Batiatus (John Hannah) as a slave to be trained in his ludus as gladiator by Doctore (Peter Mensah). Gladiators fight to entertain spectators in the arena and most often they die on the sands of the arena.
Adjusting to this nightmare is a great test to the human spirit. Spartacus kept going only with the hope of gaining his freedom and eventually freeing his beautiful wife Sura (Erin Cummings) from slavery and his master, Batiatus promised to this end. As to whether he will keep his promise or even has the power to fulfil this promise remains to be seen.
Batiatus feels underappreciated and not accorded the due respect he deserves in society. He therefore sets out to win the recognition and respect he thinks he deserves. As a good lanista he fully recognises the potential of Spartacus and he is an integral part of his means to achieving this end of elevating his social status.
In their fight for prominence Solonius uses Theokoles ((Reuben De Jong) in an attempt to finally stop Batiatus from continuing in his rise to prominence. Theokoles was a fearsome gladiator was had never been defeated and no one has stood against him and lived except Doctore. Even Doctore bares the terrible scars of this duel. Spartacus kills Theokoles and he succeeds Crixus (Manu Bennett) as Champion of Capua. His sworn enemies Legatus Glaber and his wife Ilithyia (Viva Bianca) have been watching the rise of Spartacus with concern because they never expected that he will survive this long. As to whether their machinations against him will bear fruit remains to be seen.
In keeping to the desire to portray an accurate picture of the roman society the language is foul and full of profane to the extent that baffling and some of the scenes are very explicit. The directing and acting are fantastic. Although not the protagonist John Hannah stands out for his brilliant portrayal of Batiatus. Theokoles is given super human qualities that are way out of the world. This is not to say that he can fly or perform magic or any of the superhuman deeds found in fantasy movies, but his strength and insensitivity to pain and hideous appearance is a bit exaggerated.