- Alternate Character Interpretation:
- Marv is Percival, Dwight is Lancelot and Hartigan is Galahad. Sin City is a Darker and Edgier Camelot.
- Is Marv a Death Seeker wanting to end his miserable existence? Or does he just have a major case of Honor Before Reason combined The Dulcinea Effect? Or is he just a Blood Knight who took the first chance he got to do what he does best?
- Complete Monster: Due to the general morality, the villains are usually really bad. These are the absolute worst that the Crapsack World setting has to offer:
- Kevin from "The Hard Goodbye" (with a short cameo in "That Yellow Bastard") is a young cannibalistic serial killer who acts as a hitman for Cardinal Roark when he's not murdering and eating prostitutes — and he eats them piece by piece, keeping the women alive as long as possible and making them watch, as evidenced when he got his hands on Lucille, Marv's parole officer, who was found by Marv and survived, but lost one of her hands to him before the two escaped, ending up as the Trope Codifier for Forced to Watch. However, he gets one of the most gruesome, over-the-top, terribly long, and yet poetic punishments imaginable from Sociopathic Hero Marv...even then, he smiles all the way to the end while being eaten by his pet wolf to deny Marv the pleasure of victory or revenge, and when Marv saws off his head to finish him, he doesn't give out a single scream.
- Ethan Roark "Junior" from "That Yellow Bastard" is the son of a US Senator with the appearance of a handsome young playboy. In reality, he is a sadistic pedophile with a penchant for raping and murdering preteen girls and who loves the sound of screaming. These horrible crimes are covered up by his corrupt Senator father (brother of the aforementioned Cardinal, natch), which means that no one on the police force is willing to take him down until John Hartigan saves his latest victim, Nancy Callahan, and goes through eight long years of prison for it because of the vengeful Senator dad. Near the end, it's revealed that Roark Junior is impotent unless he hears little girls scream in pain and that there were hundreds of victims. In the second film, his father acknowledges that he is insane.
- The Colonel, also known as The Salesman, is one of the top enforcers in Herr Wallenquist's Basin City Mob. He runs a clandestine division of contract killers and occasionally performs the hits himself. He mentors new trainees to shed all redeeming traits so they can become remorseless killing machines, inducing one of them into murdering the only man she ever loved before assigning her the code name "Blue Eyes". His largest operation is the "Human Resources" division, a massive kidnapping, sex slave-trading, brainwashing, organ harvesting and industrial-strength porn production operation. He kills off one of his own henchmen through Eye Scream on the off chance that the hero Wallace might track the minion down, after previously having the man's male lover stabbed to death with over a dozen knives. He has an alliance with a Dirty Cop named Leibowitz, but when Leibowitz's loyalty might falter, he orders his son's arm broken as a warning and threatens to kill his whole family. The Colonel is pretty obviously a sociopath who displays no character traits other than hinting at a wish to direct the bodies of the people around him, to see their "full potential" realized.
- Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: Yeah...these stories are DARK, dark enough that it's hard to care for anyone. And, the sheer amount of killings is enough to make you just ugh.
- Draco in Leather Pants: Surprisingly, some fans seems to forget that Senator Roark deliberately framed Hartigan for Roark Junior's crimes purely out of spite, not any kind of fatherly love, or that he hates Junior, but wants a legacy. He even handicaps then murders his illegitimate son for beating him at poker in the sequel story.
- Foe Yay: It seems that Roark Jr. treats trying to kill Hartigan as both revenge and this.
- I Am Not Shazam: The Yellow Bastard is the character's name in Fanon, as well as the title of the story in which he appears, and is used by Frank Miller himself but as far as Canon goes, he is simply Junior Roark.
- Memetic Mutation:
- Tear Jerker:
"Old man dies. Little girl lives. Fair trade."" An old man dies. A young woman lives. Fair trade. (BLAM)Eleven year old Nancy: "Still alive and still a virgin. All thanks to you."Marv: I got 'em good for you, didn't I, Goldie?
- Awesome Music: The usage of Cells in the trailer and closing credits is so memorable that it's often called the "Sin City Theme" even though it's not the theme. The song predates the movie.
- Gratuitous Special Effects: The movie is an action/crime-noir film, the likes of which, are typically done with few special effects. This movie broke new ground in Green Screen.
- Narm: Four words: "He made me WAAAAAAATCH!!!"
- One-Scene Wonder:
- Both Senator and Cardinal Roark . Though technically, Senator Roark appears in two scenes in the comic and the Director's Cut of the movie.
- Schlubb and Klump, though they too are technically in two scenes.
- They Changed It, Now It Sucks: Averted, the movie was usually word-for-word, panel-for-panel accurate to the comics, to the point where Frank Miller was given a director credit for it.
- Visual Effects of Awesome: The movie's use of green sceen allowed for gorgeous visuals throughout, both in the obvious ways (the environments and spot coloring) and the less obvious ways (Mickey Rourke has a fight scene with Elijah Wood, despite Wood not even having been cast when Rourke was shooting). Also, the green screen not only made production go by very smoothly but each actor was able to be lit individually without worrying about lighting the backgrounds which was the only way to get the Sin City look.
- What Do You Mean, It's Not Symbolic?: When Miho shoots Stuka in the head, the arrow pierces his swastika tattoo. This can be seen as taking back the swastika from those who stole and perverted it.
- WTH, Casting Agency?: Elijah Wood as Kevin. Never thought Frodo could be that scary, did you?
The movie sequel:
- Awesome Music: The theme song "Skin City", performed by Steven Tyler.
- Best Known for the Fanservice: Three words—Eva Green naked.
- Even before the movie came out, roughly 50% of the film's publicity stemmed from the controversy of the Ava Lord poster having Eva in a very see-through linen dress/robe. No Such Thing as Bad Publicity, indeed.
- Catharsis Factor: Nancy shooting Senator Roark dead.