The first season of “Spartacus” was a 300 visual approach to the classic tale of a gladiator’s uprising. With the actor in the title role battling disease, the second season became a prequel rather than a continuation of that uprising, but it also allowed for more characters to be introduced and for the inevitable conclusion dragged out a bit longer. Season three brought us back to the place where season one left off, with Liam McIntyre stepping into the role of Spartacus. It also creatively blends the characters and plot developments of the prequel season to make Vengeance the most entertaining season. Unfortunately, War of the Damned is unable to match the energy of the previous seasons, seemingly dragging its feet to a bloody conclusion.
As the story develops beyond the gladiator battles and into the battlefield, this season follows the path of the slaves and gladiators as they continue to build an army to take down the Romans hunting them down. In this season the head of the Roman army is Marcus Crassus, who utilizes the kind of back-handed politics this show is known for in order to get his position against Spartacus. The all-out war is paired with the difficulties Spartacus must face in a decision-making position of the leader. This is especially true when they take a Roman city and Spartacus refuses to kill the innocent people living there despite his increasingly rebellious army.
The final season has ten episodes, though it feels as if nothing is happening in the middle. Many episodes have their obligatory violent fight and graphic sex scene, but it has gotten almost to be a parody of itself by now. The visuals are also far less engaging than previous seasons, almost as if the elements from before are being dialed in without the same passion. When things look good, they rarely look as good as they have, and the violence seems to force shock value over spectacle.
The Blu-ray special features include a featurette on those lovely visual effects, along with a handful of featurettes which all seem to be talking about the same thing; the revival of the Spartacus narrative. Exclusive to the Blu-ray are audio commentaries and extended episodes.
Entertainment Value: 8/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 6/10
Historical Significance: 6/10
Disc Features: 7/10