I finally got around to watching Starship Troopers after I had been told it was a parody and was shown the opening mini-propaganda commercial. The humour in these commercials were very sharp and if I had to pick a favourite part of the film, it would probably be them.
However, where I was expecting campy satire, I got what would be a pretty decent straight war thriller in a lot of ways [ignoring the darker satirical elements, bad tactics, etc]. In this sense the movie felt like it didn't quite know what it wanted to be; a campy parody or a straight scifi warfilm and typically I'd say that a movie trying both will fail at both. However, Starship Troopers isn't a laugh outloud comedy and knows what elements it wants to target; The system of government is corrupt and filled iwth jingoism and etc but the characters are played pretty straight.
In my opinion the goal of the film is to show us how the characters are reduced from being young highschoolers with nominal faith in the government to being the horrible blindly militaristic soldiers by the end. Carl still views Rico as little more than a statistic by the end, Rico is the "ballbusting" lieutenant and so on down the list, if they didn't die brutally along the way. The characters aren't reduced to idiots to highlight how bad things are, they accept it since they were raised there. There isn't a view point character to point out how messed up this world is and serve as an audience surrogate, that's our job as viewers but to someone willing to analyse as they watch, it's a pretty miserable institution they're defending. Small stuff such as the news lying about the death toll on the planet which can only be noticed if you're paying attention to something the director isn't pointing you at, adds a lot to this.
It's certainly not a laugh outloud satire like some might be lead to believe from fans. Further, subtlety is over done, small details matter but are impossible to notice unless you know what you are looking for. It's very easy to miss some details and the fact that many of these darker elements aren't commented on at all by characters make them easy to miss or ignore if you don't know you should be looking for them.
Over all, I think this is a very poignant satire, put together very skillfully with a lot to say, just sometimes it isn't are not willing to say it loud enough.