Athens, the true hero of the war against Persia, gets dissed time and again in this movie. You won’t hear a word in 300 about Salamis, the real decisive battle of the war – because it was Athens, not Sparta, that destroyed the Persian fleet at Salamis. The Spartans wanted to run away from the Persian fleet and wall themselves off in the Peloponnese (you wouldn’t believe how many times I’ve messed up the spelling on that damn word). They didn’t have a clue about combined-arms operations (which the Athenians handled durn well). In fact, the Spartans, who are called “the finest soldiers in history” over and over in this movie, were a mediocre, one-dimensional, inflexible military force.
The War Nerd comes through again.
Only amateur fascists admire Sparta guys like Frank Miller, who are still pissed off because people like me dared to warn them the Iraq war was going to be a disaster. Now Miller and his fellow neocons have gone so over the deep end of delusional thinking that they’ve resorted to fantasizing about Sparta, where nobody ever argued, where everyone yelled and stabbed and otherwise kept their mouths shut.
It’s downright hilarious the way this movie punishes every smart character. Every time someone wants to argue with the war party in this movie, he’s evil. Everybody who talks in a normal tone of voice is evil. Miller shows two scenes where the Spartans murder Persian envoys arriving under a flag of truce. And both times, you’re supposed to cheer.
Since when do Americans cheer when truce parties are murdered? Well, that’s pretty easy to answer, actually: since Iraq. These diehard neocons have gone insane because there’s no way they can argue for an invasion of Iran any more. But they still want it, bad. So they’ve taken a crash course in fascism, jumping all the way to cheering for Sparta and booing for Athens – because Athens stands for brains and flexibility and talking things out. They can’t win the argument, so they want to kill anybody who tries to argue. That’s why Leonidas kicks the Persian envoy down a well.