David, in the comments of a previous post, asks if "300" really was a good movie.
But the acting wasn't actually good, the script was melodramatic, and the most emotional moments were kind of awkward (kind of like a typical teenage boy--lots of energy, but not quite so good at the more earnest bits).For me, it was a good movie in that it delivered what was expected in the way of the genre. It is an abiding story of epic stature and so was treated in the traditional and broadly heroic storytelling style. (And to one who tells stories for a living, that is pure joy!) That possibly makes it seem a bit anachronistic to modern ears and movie expectations, but we could corellate it with the old Western cowboy movie... without shirts!
I accepted it as would some Greek citizen attending a play in his day. I would have no expectation of "reality" styling or emotional nuance. (You want awkward? The men played the female roles.) I would want the broad strokes; with wide margins between the dark and the light, good and evil, super-ego and sub-human. Frank Miller's visual styling meshed perfectly with the ancient retelling in that regard; a perfect complement of "voice" and visual. Plus, seeing it on the big screen just added to the effect. It loses quite a bit on the smaller venue of DVD.
The appeal of comic books to the primarily visually-oriented male has endured for the same reasons the very story of Thermopylae captures the imagination: Simple plot, over-the-top characters, stark contrasts, and the surprisingly sophisticated element of an overlooked flaw in all of the perfection of the Spartans. That can't be portrayed with fine engravings, but both have their place.
And besides, it was just freakin' awesome, okay?
No one should expect Frank Miller's styling to deliver on the level of a Shakespearean play, *ahem*.
Do I hafta explain why Samurai Jack kicks ass?