- Alternate Aesop Interpretation: "Being a Navy SEAL is badass" is the intended message. Yet with an outcome of roughly half the team becoming casualties in the film's 1- to 6-week span, including one guy losing his eye, one guy getting shot repeatedly and sustaining major injuries, and one guy dying and leaving behind a widow expecting a child, another moral that can be gleaned is "Being a Navy SEAL is going to hurt. A LOT."
- To reinforce the alternate aesop, the list of SEALs who "made the ultimate sacrifice" since The War on Terror started at the end of the movie is shockingly long for people who have been elevated as nigh-invincible.
- Broken Base: This movie was made with the full endorsement and support of Naval Special Warfare Command to boost the number of SEAL recruits. However, according to a thesis at the Naval Postgraduate School, a small but increasingly vocal cabal of active duty SEAL operators, blame this movie for enabling a pattern of self promotion and self aggrandizement among many former SEAL operators. They feel that this movie sent a message to rank and file SEAL enlisted that it is OK to turn their membership in an elite unit into a ticket for fame, and contribute to a media hype about all things SEAL. This hype, in their minds erodes away the ethos of quiet professionalism that is essential to allowing SEALs to operate covertly.
- Critical Dissonance: The film received generally negative reviews from critics (24% on Rotten Tomatoes). However, audiences loved it, as it earned an "A" grade from Cinemascore. Indeed, the film opened at #1, earning $24.5 million during its opening weekend, and it eventually made $81.3 million worldwide ($70 million from the U.S. alone) against a budget of only about $12 million (about how much Relativity paid to buy the film).
- Dancing Bear: Much of the hype about the film was that it featured active-duty Navy SEALs in the lead roles.
- Just Here for Godzilla: Many people went to see the movie just to see what real SEALs looked like in action.
- So Okay, It's Average: The movie is actually a fairly by-the-numbers action film, with the differentiating factor being that it featured real Navy SEALs who were on active duty when it was made.
- Tear Jerker: Rorke's death.
YMMV / Act of Valor