The First King is a period drama which tells the story of the legendary story of the first British king, Cleopatra. The movie depicts the beautiful princess, Hymenes (Rooney Mara), desperately looking for her young son, Apollo (James Patterson) who has been kidnapped by pirates. While sailing on a small ship, she meets with the Roman general, Marcus Aurelius (Christensen), who is also aboard and is searching for clues about the whereabouts of his own brother, Caius. The First King offers to help the girl to locate her son, but when she refuses his offer, he sends his wife, Cleopatra (Sophie Rashan) to get him.
However, Cleopatra's efforts to locate Apollo are in vain, and she decides to marry King Menelaus (Christensen) after some time to get back her lost love. But Menelaus is focused on his own agenda, which involves capturing the Egyptian princess, Paxxia (Alessandra Ambrosio), and taking her to the Greek Island of Rhodes. Meanwhile, a warrior from the allied army called Orestes (Christina Applegate) joins forces with the Greeks against the Egyptians, although he is betrayed and killed by his own men. Cleopatra then agrees to marry Menelaus, but not before he asks her to sacrifice herself by participating in the Trojan War. Her participation in this war comes at a time when she already has feelings for the young, wealthy man, but how can she let her own death get in the way of their growing relationship?
One of the best things about The First King is the screenplay that directs the entire movie. The film consists of eight episodes and is directed by Steven Soderbergh who is no stranger to producing movies that include a large number of characters (and of course, dragons). This movie is more entertaining than it is informative and is filled with hilarious one-liners such as "The First King never had an army, but he did have a magic wand!" In fact, one of the first Kings scenes involves Cleopatra telling her daughter that she should sacrifice herself to protect the Greek soldiers, and that she shouldn't worry about her life because her "kingdom awaits after her." It's one thing for an intelligent movie to make fun of ancient myths and legends, like the ones that make up The First King, but another for a movie to take itself so seriously.
The First King is a tale about two unlikely characters who rise to power and unite their kingdoms. Alexander the Great is a man who has conquered most of the known world when he dies and is succeeded by his son, Paxelus. The story begins with the young, inexperienced Paxelus, who leads his army into a battle against the Persians, who are led by their Queen Medinia (Ann-Margret). The First King lives.
However, something happens to the First King when he is carried off by thefts while on a hunting trip. On the return journey, he befriends the princess Roxane (Ann-Margret), who wishes to marry him, but he refuses. He then rallies a large band of marauding pirates to attack the Greek city-state of Tyre, which is ruled by Cleopatra (Sophie de Leon). The First King rallies his men and sails to Tyre where he battles the legitimate ruler, and although he routs them, he is killed. Cleopatra flees to Egypt with her army to claim the throne as king of all of Egypt, and Paxelus' descendants rule over the region for thirty years. Eventually, however, the Greeks recover Tyre, and the Roman general Flavius (Marcus Aurelius) leads a large army into the southern kingdom of Messala (Mesopotamia), which is under the nominal control of Alexander the Great.
Alexander sends his general Marcias, who is highly unpopular in the city-state, to put down the rebellious minority. The First King is not present at this meeting, but his military advisor, Flavius, who is in command of the Achaean expedition, and a resident of the city-state, witnesses the murder of the king. After the murder, Flavius assumes control of the Achaeans, but the Achaeans refuse to hand over their power and allegiance to him. He then declares war on the Romans, and the Achaeans, aided by the Greeks, defeat the Romans at the battle of Marathon, and the Achaeans ultimately win the war and take complete control of the region. The Second King, Oedipus, rises to power after the victory, and he has a difficult time ruling over the united kingdom. Finally, the Iron Age begins, and the period known as the Classic Period begins.