8) 300 (2006)
Zack Snyder created a fratboy sensation in 300, telling the story of fearless soldiers marching into certain death. Oily abs, an angry Gerard Butler, ancient fighting and more slow-motion than The Matrix – what more could you ask for?
Much like a few other movies on this list, Snyder embraces the graphically mature nature of comic book visuals and takes them to new heights with some cinematic magic. He doesn’t lighten up settings or explore a more realistic interpretation, instead turning to heavily green-screened scenes of darkly rendered mountain locations. The ominous atmosphere always addresses King Leonidas’ monumental task at hand, hovering overhead in a constant state of impending doom that stays faithful to Frank Miller and Lynn Varley’s source material. There’s a crispness to shots, akin to illustrated pages, and Snyder’s mastery of slow-motion captures moments that replicate the feel of a comic book panel.
Snyder also gleefully embraces a level of violence that sends limbs flying, bloody spraying and bodies piling, never holding back for a single second. This is only the first example of many, but 300 is what happens when you transfer certain freedoms from comic books to movies, in this case the freedom being limitless, gluttonous violence. Blood swirls and dances while flying through the air, limbs are juggled, the warriors move in synchrony – there’s a strange beauty to Snyder’s violence, something typically only found in comics.