It seems that everyone who hated this movie must have written a review, so I thought I'd throw in my two cents to even things up a bit. First, if you assume every movie is made simply to uppercut some sort of ideology into the audience's chest, then yes, it does seem very racist, xenophobic, and the like. However, this film is based on a freakin' comic book! The Spartans were some of the most skilled, nastiest, nationalistic fighters out there, and certainly had reason to be more driven and nationalistic than Persia's, which was not an army of individuals fighting for their land and families. Should they have been portrayed differently simply to satisfy the current political climate? Are you mad? The cheesy one-liners are also evidence that this movie IS BASED ON A COMIC BOOK. The exaggerated characters is further evidence that this movie IS BASED ON A COMIC BOOK. This is not a historical movie, it is a movie which seeks to put a rockstar, no-holds-barred spin on a particular historical event. It isn't attempting to be accurate, or balanced, or anything of the sort, and it SHOULDN'T, because that isn't it's purpose. It shouldn't be obligated to do anything of the sort. It's ENTERTAINMENT. Nothing more. And it's damn good entertainment, in my opinion.
Every scene is beautifully crafted. I found the slowdown to be stylistic and much of the dialogue, which is apparently cheesy and fascist to everyone else, to be at least somewhat inspiring, and certainly engaging. These Spartans were trained their entire lives to be warriors, their entire culture is built around success in battle, and you don't expect them to be quite skilled, much more so than a slave army, and quite patriotic? Also, this movie was from the point of view of the Spartans. How would this army have appeared to the Spartans? Wouldn't their stories now be over-exaggerated, over-simplified, almost legendary? There isn't a great amount of character development because this movie is about a battle, ONE battle, THE battle for the continuance of the Western world, and yes, IF the Spartans had been simply overwhelmed from the start, and if their Athenian allies hadn't completely CRUSHED the much larger Persian navy at sea, the West simply could not have existed in any similar manner as it has. And yes, the Western world is guilty of arrogance, overextending it's boundaries to the point of imperialism, however, it has given our world a plethora of all-too-important philosophical ideals that are simply irreplaceable if we want to live in a free society.
I realize I spent a great deal of my time being critical of other reviews, so I would like to take the time to apologize for perhaps wasting the time of someone who was simply searching for a detailed point of view on the film. I can assure you that the film is action-packed. The scenes are absolutely beautiful, every one of them. The film is gory, but artistically gory, if that makes any sense. You'll know what I mean. The story is simple, direct, and inspiring. The acting is excellent. The movie, overall, was a tremendous experience. I give it a 9.