Alternate Character Interpretation: Jesus is not actually the messiah, he is a well-meaning charlatan with delusions of granduer who blasphemes against the established Jewish religion, makes terroristic threats to destroy the temple, and foments insurrection against the peaceful Roman occupation by convincing his followers to stop paying tribute to the emperor. He dies of his injuries on the cross. The storm, of course, can be explained as a regular freak accident, and Jesusís resurrection at the end is a fanciful dream of his bereaved followers rather than an actual occurrence.
Big Lipped Alligator Moment: Satan and her evil old man baby, never again referenced. Just Jesus looking out, seeing Satan, and Satan has something in her arms...ahhh-get-it-away-it's-horrible-and-I-have-no-words-to-describe-the-horror. Some claim it'd might be a Satanic mockery of Mary and Baby Jesus, while others theorize the baby is the Anti-Christ, but the film itself has no answer.
Broken Base: The amount of violence and detail surrounding the crucifying of Jesus. While it is mostly accurate to how bloody actual ones were, some have argued that the film focuses too much on it and not enough on the reasons as to why Jesus went through them, and why his sacrifice meant so much to humanity.
Critical Dissonance: Reception to the film was understandably split down the middle by critics due to its subject matter. However, a good portion Christian filmgoers view the film as an excellent adaptation of this part of the New Testament.
While watching this movie, it's too disturbing and depressing to notice this trope. It's darkly comical in hindsight though, just the sheer amount of violence Mel Gibson puts Jesus through.
He is beaten up by Jewish guards, slapped around by the Sanhedrin priests, beaten up by the people in the Temple, scourged so bad by Roman soldiers that his ribs are bared, has a crown of thorns put on his head (and pushed into his eyes), whipped through the streets while carrying a cross, beaten up and pelted with stones by Jewish mobs, and - after they dislocate his arm to fit the cross - he is finally nailed to the cross. It Crosses the Line Twice when the Roman officer orders his men to put the dying Jesus out of his misery by breaking his legs with a sledgehammer.note Though, of course, the Bible says that when the soldiers saw that Jesus was already dead, they didn't break his legs. Some scientists believe that when someone is crucified, breaking their legs would leave them unable to support themselves enough to breathe.
Things are taken even further as the Centurion overseeing the execution tosses a spear to one of the guards for him to pierce Jesus's side just to make sure that he is really dead, and water (from the pericardium) and blood sprays all over the guard's face as the spear pierces Jesus's ribcage. No one can say this film doesn't meet Gorn requirements.
Fridge Brilliance: He's God. Catholics have a reverence for the blood of Christ. That there is a lot of it makes it more significant.
Take a count of how often Jesus collapses and gets back up again. If you make a drinking game out of it, you might find yourself talking to Him directly about it.
Crowning Moment of Awesome: All the suffering that Christ goes through in the film makes the resurrection scene that much more effective.
Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: The Gorn that this film is so infamous for is meant to make the viewers empathize with Jesus. And it does work quite well with some people, but not with others. Many viewers just stop caring after all the violence they see.
Designated Hero: Jesus. He persuades his followers not to pay their taxes (which the government uses to do things like build roads and fund the military), foments insurrection against the Roman occupation (which, at the time, seems to be entirely peaceful; we only see examples of brutality after Jesus's arrest), proclaims himself the true king of the Jews (despite being nothing but a peasant carpenter; this also challenges the authority of Herod, the legitimate king), and threatens to destroy the temple (which, in modern times, would be considered religious intolerance and making terroristic threats). It's honestly a wonder he wasn't executed sooner.
Ensemble Darkhorse: Mary. While this is especially true for Catholics, Maia Morgenstern's performance has been credited with increasing Evangelical devotion to Mary.
Mis-blamed: The Anti-Semitic claims in particular and certain historical variances. Whatever Gibson's personal views this film is largely no better/no worse then the work it's based on. It enjoyed broad support from Church leaders across denominations precisely because it was felt to be a faithful adaptation, and most support includes the note that they did not feel it promoted anti-Semitism, nor did they think it should have.
Complaints that it focuses on Jesus' capture and execution are particularly odd, since that is literally the title of the movie.
Heartwarming Moments: After Jesus is nailed to the cross, the soldiers flip the cross over to make sure the nails are secured from the reverse. At this point, Jesus should be flat on his face - as if everything else he's been through wasn't enough - but, as Magdalene sees (and us from the angle) Jesus is about an inch or so above ground, high enough for him to turn and gaze at her. Something like that is normally impossible without something like, say, divine intervention? Heartwarming to know that, while all the suffering is part of the plan, it could be interpreted as God's sign that he hadn't abandoned Jesus.
Nightmare Fuel: The entire film is this, but Satan and the demon children are especially disturbing.
Tearjerker: Besides Mary and Mary Magdalene's horrified tears of pain, we have a divine tear shed as we see a single drop of rain fall (from a god's eye view camera no less) just after Jesus dies.
Visual Effects of Awesome: While Jim Caviezel did injure himself at times, the flagellation is done by combining realistic make-up and visual effects to make it seem as if flesh is being torn. Also, once Jesus is nailed, when it's full-bodied it's a life-like animatronic, enough to make bystanders in the Italian set worried for the "actor's" health.