- Crowning Moments of Heartwarming
The Duck (to Valentine): I will always go and do dumb things for you (like going to look for you, even if you are a big stupid head and go off without me!)—and it means to say I love you.
- The Duck is a constant source of these.
Valentine: Will you just let me apologize! I have never done anything for you and you have always done everything for me, even stupid dumb stunts you know you can't do—Serpent: You're my brother. I'll always do dumb things for you. And whatever I choose to do, you owe me nothing.
- Right before Valentine and Lost escape through the Serpent/Venice's door:
- Viewer Gender Confusion: Holy crap are there a lot of pretty dudes in this comic.
- Alternate Character Interpretation: Fading Moon's relationship to Broken Sword. In Nameless's version of events, he explicitly describes them as lovers and how she and Flying Snow hated each other. The king cannot imagine such a relationship and in his version her relationship with Broken Sword is platonic. The third, ostensibly true scenario, does have her devote herself to Broken Sword (noting she looked up to him since she was eight); but there is no overtly romantic overtone to their relationship. Similarly there is no enmity between her and Snow over Broken Sword's affections. Moon's devotion can be seen as she being in love with Broken Sword or it could be that she looks up to him like a parent or teacher.
- Anvilicious: Broken Sword spells out Aesop in a speech to Nameless, who then tells it to the Emperor once he believes it.
- Crowning Moment of Awesome: Every. Single. Fight scene.
- Crowning Moment of Heartwarming: The entire Blue flashback. It's interesting that the King is the one telling this flashback, describing his two mortal enemies as tender, selfless lovers.
- Family-Unfriendly Aesop: Many Western critics saw the fundamental message of the movie as, "Despotism and brutal military conquest of your neighbors is acceptable if it's done in the name of unity and peace." However, in China this message isn't particularly unusual: China's long history of civil wars is partly responsible.
- Just Here for Godzilla: It's not as prominent to Western viewers, but the promise of a Jet Li / Donnie Yen rematch was a huge deal to wuxia aficionados.
- Special Effect Failure: Being the Wuxia genre, Wire Fu is to be expected, and most of the movie is absolutely stunning. However two examples stand out, and both involve the separate instances when Nameless proves himself to Broken Sword and Flying Sword. In the first instance he throws a cup into the air before catching it on the flat of his sword. The effect looks almost 2D as Jet Li stands there, completely motionless, while an equally motionless cup doesn't so much "land" as descends onto his sword. The second instance involves Nameless flinging a hundred black arrows into the air, and piercing the single white arrow amongst them. The effect is well done, until the camera pulls out. Instead of seeing a fairly uniform cloud of black arrows falling, someone has obviously just taken two buckets of arrows and dumped them in front of Jet Li.
- Tear Jerker: Each of the three tales explaining how Nameless got to the throne room is a tear-jerker, and the film ends on a fourth.
"He was executed as a traitor. And buried as a hero."
- Values Dissonance: Many Western viewers see the film as an open endorsement of despotic rule, while Eastern viewers are more likely to see it as a question of whether the end justifies the means, or whether your goals and/or their potential aftereffects are more important.
- What The Hell, Casting Agency?- Rebecca St. James (Poster girl for Christian Abstinence!) as Maggie the prostitute, full stop.
- Rooting for the Empire- When you have the most prominent antagonist played by the lead singer of Skillet, and turn his Villain Song at the end into an epic metal number, this is bound to happen for some Christian metal fans.