Never mess with a Spartan. All they know is violence and that is what you’ll get if you give them the funny eye across the street. 300 shows just what they can be capable of, and the way they scream is enough to knock out most people. They like to say that thing, you know. ‘This is Spaaarrrtttaaaa!’ Yeah, that. Most people would feel a little red in the face, but not these guys. The only red on their face will be the enemies blood. They’re pretty nice guys really, though. Almost cute. Almost.
300 is all about the fighting then, and fighting is mainly what we see. A simple plot triggers it all off; Persians ask for the Spartans to submit to King Xerxes and King Leonidas says no. He says no by shouting a kicking the messenger down a well, of course. King Leonidas doesn’t get permission to go to war however, so he takes a small group of 300 with him. Then we get to the meat of the film, big grand battles. We see the strength of the Spartans as a unit as they take on numbers far greater than their own and some of the battle scenes are rather beautiful thanks to the clean saturated style and use of slow-mo. It’s the perfect friends, beer and pizza movie. Don’t think, just enjoy the blood bath. It may be light on plot and the dialogue is pretty hammy minus the few famous lines everyone likes to quote, but when you see thousands of arrows rain down from the sky, nothing else really matters.
Watching it alone is a different experience though. The battles start to drain my energy away and the scenes back home with King Leonidas’s wife trying to bring aid to the battle feel largely pointless and predictable. These scenes just feel like they’re there to inject something extra into the story. It would have been better having more break time moments between battles of the Spartans interacting, there isn’t enough of that. Or maybe give a sensation that the peaceful home town is going to sink into despair if things don’t go well. Something extra to help separate battles with worthwhile scenes.
300 is pure style over substance, and it works most of the time. Switch off and watch some heads get sliced off. Preferably in a group of like-minded blood thirsty individuals. That way you can try the best scenes together afterwards.