Dawn of the Dead may have been his first feature, but it was 300 that put Zack Snyder on the map. The R-rated historical actioner showcased the genesis of the visual style he’d soon become famous for, with the rippling muscles and sculpted abs being fawned over in super slow-motion, while the action was suitably hard-hitting.
It hardly screamed franchise potential, though, especially when almost the entire principal cast had been killed off by the time the credits rolled. However, Warner Bros. refused to let potential profits slip through its fingers, and so Rise of an Empire hit theaters seven years after the original.
Snyder produced and co-wrote the sequel, with Noam Murro taking over behind the camera. Rise of an Empire was perfectly acceptable without ever coming close to improving on its predecessor, and the alarming blandness of leading man Sullivan Stapleton was thankfully offset by a phenomenal Eva Green performance.
The star positively radiates star power as she chows down on the scenery, and she’s the comfortably highlight of the film by a country mile. For whatever reason, the decidedly mediocre 300: Rise of an Empire has crashed right onto the HBO Max most-watched list as per FlixPatrol, as subscribers evidently rush to check out the middling blockbuster in their droves.