These. Are. YMMV. Items!
- Adaptation Displacement: The comic was not very well known before the film came out.
- Americans Hate Tingle: The movie was condemned as "Western Propaganda" in Iran note due to the way Persians were portrayed. However, lots of people in the US and Canada had the same opinion, but they usually felt that it was so over-the-top it crossed the line twice. Frank Miller's opinions on the War on Terror contributed to this.
- Of course, since it is portrayed as a story being told to rouse an army against a hated enemy, it essentially is propaganda.
- Awesome Art: The comic book contains some of the best art Frank Miller ever drew. The coloring also falls under this.
- Designated Heroes: Ordinarily, you wouldn't be rooting for a side that glorifies warfare, practices eugenics, is profoundly tribal/racist, kills diplomats and systematically kills wounded and those attempting to surrender. But ordinarily, the story isn't told by the admiring products of such a side. Luckily, they didn't even try to tackle the slavery issue. The fact that there really wasn't a side in this war that didn't practice these things also helps.
- Designated Villains: The Persian soldiers are even repeatedly mentioned to be nothing more than slaves forced by their fear of the king to fight.
- Hilarious in Hindsight:
- An in-story example: "We will fight in the shade."
- Also, the movie did that to The Man Who Saves the World due to Leonidas having a very similar appearance to the main villain in that film.
- Queen Gorgo◊
- It's hard to take many previous works with phrase "This is madness!" seriously anymore due to the 300 film.
- Leonidas isn't the only Spartan with an affinity for making gods bleed.
- Germans Love David Hasselhoff:
- The movie was a massive hit in Greece and cultural neighbor Cyprus, probably because it depicted Greeks as total badasses.
- It's also extremely popular with the European Far-Right for less wholesome reasons.
- Gratuitous Special Effects: This movie makes heavy use of prosthetics, Green Screen and lots of CGI. The same battle was depicted in the movie The Three Hundred Spartans decades earlier with little more than fancy costumes and prop swords. The comic is comparatively more realistic with its visuals.
- Ho Yay: This movie might have been called Ho Yay: The Motion Picture. If you know your way around Spartan culture, it's not hard to see why.
- Holy Shit Quotient: Shoots through the roof during battle scenes.
- Memetic Badass: While the Spartans were already commonly regarded as the most badass civilization in all of history, this movie only helped spread the idea.
- Memetic Mutation:
- Moral Event Horizon: If Theron didn't cross it by using Persian money to bribe the ephors into warning Leonidas against going to war against Persia during an imminent religious holiday, he definitely did so by raping Gorgo and attempting to out her as an adulteress at the Senate meeting the next day.
- Narm: We could also call this Narm: The Motion Picture, what with every single actor on a 100% scenery diet.
- One of Xerxes executioners looks like he came out directly from either Diablo or Warcraft.
- Nightmare Fuel:
- The wall of dead bodies. The gross up close ups of all the corpses don't help much.
- The Tree of the Dead, which goes on the same premise as the wall.
- Older Than They Think:
Go tell the Spartans, passer by,
- A number of lines from the movie are actually from Herodotus, including "fight in the shade" and "Tonight, we dine in Hades" (Hades is short for "Hades's kingdom", the underworld, which was where all afterlives were, for Ancient Greeks). The Spartan epitaph planted by the side of the road is actually still visible as a marker from the Classical period:
That here, by Spartan law, we lie.
- Queen Gorgo also apparently said "Only Spartan women give birth to real men." Though this is believed to have been said to another Greek, not to a Persian Messenger.
- Retroactive Recognition: Michael Fassbender plays Stelios. This movie came out a few years before his first truly famous roles so many people never really registered that it was him in this one.
- Ron the Death Eater:
- The movie Spartans get hit by this heavily, with the actions of the real Spartans used to attack them due to Values Dissonance (killing imperfect children is the work of a devil today, in ancient times it could have been the difference between food stores lasting the winter or running out partway through, among other things) and all of their actions painted in the worst light possible. They even get attacked for being all the same race, while these critics point out that the Persians are composed of many different peoples and nationalities. Apparently it's okay to slaughter innocent villagers and conquer other lands as long as you do it utilizing diversity.
- In universe and from the other end, the Persians also get this for the inverse reasons.
- Signature Scene: No need to explain which one.
- Strawman Has a Point: When the Persian herald confronts the Greeks building a wall from dead bodies and screams that they are barbarians, it's hard to argue that he isn't somewhat justified in his horror and rage.
- Tearjerker: The ending. Each man knows that he faces death at the hands of Xerxes, but they absolutely refuse to give in or abandon their king. Moreso the ever-loyal Blood Knight Stelios.
Stelios: My king... it is an honour to have died at your side...Leonidas: It was an honour to have lived at yours...
- What Do You Mean, It's Not Political?: Complicated again, as the film was made during The War On Terror, which Frank Miller supports, but the original comic was written a decade earlier. This has lead to such a bad Misaimed Fandom that a March 2007 press conference saw director Zach Snyder asked by a reporter whether King Leonidas was meant to be George W Bush or Osama bin Laden. Original author Frank Miller claims that his comic to a large degree was inspired by the 1962 film The 300 Spartans, which is often considered to be a metaphor for the Cold War. Whether such a message was intended or not is far from clear.