Since I've had a pretty good week (and it's Spring Break here at Unknown University), I treated myself to a viewing of The 300. It was well worth every penny.
It's definitely not one to take your kids to (and probably not your wife either). It had its share of gore, but that was to be expected from adaption of a Frank Miller graphic novel (and about war, yet. So get over it).. But even that didn't seem as bad as you would have expected because of the somewhat otherworldly lighting and colorization they used.
I know, I know - the Spartans weren't nearly as honorable and praiseworthy in real life as they were depicted in the movie. Some of them were gay, and they were not nice in reality. And I can see how you could read political or racist overtones into the plot. But then, if you want to you can probably read them into just about anything.
But having said that, I can see why the movie has done as well as it has. It's not just that the camera work and special effects were striking (they were). And it's not because it was pretty violent and gory (it was).
Honor, respect, and courage are the themes of the movie. The Spartans depicted in the movie were the epitome of what used to be called "Stand up guys". They were willing to fight and die for a cause, and they went through it all with a definitely guyish and dark sense of humor. I particularly liked the scene at the end when Leonidas tells the traitor Ephialtes "may you live forever", as in "you don't deserve an honorable death in battle." A few people in the audience actually clapped and cheered at that point.
There are a lot of people who still go for those things in movies. And we're not all testosterone-drenched yahoos (at least, we're not JUST those things). So if you like a good guys movie, devfinitely see this on the big screen. I only wish there was an IMAX near me so I could have gotten the full visual effect.