‘300’ is a historical action film directed by Zack Snyder and based on the comic series of the name same by Frank Miller and Lynn Varley (which itself was a fictionalized retelling of the Battle of Thermopylae which occurred within the Persian Wars).
Zack Snyder’s works have received mixed to negative reviews. If you know me, or have read some of my reviews that mention Zack Snyder, you know that I am a huge fan. I admit that he has his shortcomings. But for whatever my opinion is worth, I think that Zack Snyder is a cinematic genius.
‘Watchmen’, ‘Man of Steel’ and ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’ are the 3 greatest superhero movies of all-time. Of All-Time!!! Is that opinion contentious? Sure. Do I truly believe it? Absolutely. I re-watched ‘Watchmen’ just the other day for the first time in years and I was enamored by it. While it mostly sticks to the graphic novel, the changes that were made worked better for a cinematic adaptation. Furthermore, the directing was (mostly) on point. A great adaptation.
And that is what Zack Snyder does best: adaptations. He has certainly proven that he can stay close to the vision of the original work with ‘300’ and ‘Watchmen’ (it’s been too long since I have seen ‘Dawn of the Dead’ so I have no opinion on it). He has also proven that he can subvert expectations by deconstructing ideas and providing deep philosophical questions to the viewer with ‘Man of Steel’ and ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’ (Again: Contentious? Sure. Do I truly believe it? Absolutely.).
As a historical case study of the Battle of Thermopylae, ‘300’ fails miserably. If you want something that is more historically accurate, go watch 1962’s ‘The 300 Spartans’. As a comic book adaptation, ‘300’ succeeds with flying colours. Zack Snyder works his magic and makes ‘300’ a truly magnificent and enjoyable experience. Visually stunning and dripping with style, ‘300’ moves through its plot points and character arcs effortlessly and logically.
The potential on display in ‘300’ is overwhelming. Whether you are watching the perfectly directed slow-motion battle sequences or teen Leonidas facing off against a savage wolf (this scene has a ton of foreshadowing), the visuals and content are arresting, captivating, and meaningful.
While I think that Zack Snyder improved with ‘Watchmen’, ‘Man of Steel’ and ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’, it would be wrong to say that ‘300’ doesn’t deserve CLASSIC status. It ABSOLUTELY deserves that status (unless you are a Snyder hater, in which case I “get it”, but you are wrong) and it is not only due to the fact that many of its scenes have become an internet meme .
It is also because ‘300’ is distinctly cinematic in presentation and content. A heavily stylized work of visual perfection and brilliant action, ‘300’ stands tall against many of its peers.
‘300’ is phenomenal.