- Alternative 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?
- Herr Wallenquist's irritation with Ava Lord's attempted flirtations can be read a number of ways. Perhaps he wants their relationship to be strictly professional, but his line "I have no use for your charms" could imply that he's either gay or asexual. Or perhaps it's some combination of both motives.
- Chaotic Evil: The Yellow Bastard says it himself: "I get to do whatever I want!" It definitely doesn't help things that he's protected from any punishment he might otherwise receive for his horrible acts by his corrupt U.S. Senator father.
- Chaotic Neutral: Marv certainly qualifies. He's a violent brute who is more or less insane, and usually kills his enemies in horrible, horrible ways, but like Conan does not kill innocents.
- Complete Monster: Due to the general morality, the villains are usually really bad. But even with that being said, there are a few that stand out as especially heinous. 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, emotionless, cannibalistic Serial Killer who acts as a hitman for Cardinal Patrick Henry Roark. In the meantime, Kevin murders and eats prostitutes; piece by piece, keeping the women alive as long as possible and making them watch. He cuts off and eats the left hand of Marv's parole officer Lucille, and throws her in the basement of the farmhouse, where there are several heads of Kevin's previous victims.
- 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—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.
- 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 codename "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.
- Lawful Good: Detective John Hartigan, of the Knight in Sour Armor variety (not surprising given the kind of place Basin City is).
- Memetic Mutation:
- Neutral Evil: Wallenquist is a simple businessman that never takes anything personal... he just so happens to be The Don. The Roarks and Colonel almost fit this trope, but they have varying degrees of For the Evulz, resulting in them being a bit "purer" in their evilness.
- 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 and predates the movie.
- Cant Unhear It: Mickey Rourke has the kind of voice that's perfect for a character like Marv.
- 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.
- Hilarious in Hindsight: Except for the mustache, the prosthetics on Powers Booth were reportedly intended to make Senator Roark very slightly resemble Richard Nixon. But entirely coincidentally, he looks more like this guy◊ instead.
- 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.
- Retroactive Recognition: Ron Swanson is Schlubb!
- Visual Effects of Awesome: The movie's use of green screen 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.
- One-Scene Wonder: Christopher Lloyd's Dr. Kroenig.