This was an excellent movie. Very fateful to Frank Miller's graphic novel and while not 100% historically accurate, it nevertheless keeps the spirit of what occurred accurate.
I saw the movie at an old theatre in Baltimore that has a big screen and no stadium seating, it was a great experience. Also no 20 minutes of previews for forthcoming films, it started with the movie.
The movie itself was a visceral experience. It starts a brief history of King Leonidus and then rapidly moves the the King defying the oracle, who had unbeknowst to the King been paid off by the Persians and then the battle. It is a movie where you know they do not survive and that they are doomed to die, yet you are rooting for them to win anyway.
It is a story of doing what is right, because it is right. It is a story of honor and passion to fight against any odds. It is a story of defiance in face of impossible odds, because defiance against evil or tyranny is what one should do. It is a story of a small group that made a difference in the history of the world.
The negative reviews that talk of the ultra level of violence and the lack of certain moralities are trying to impose modern values on an ancient civilization. War is bloody and violent and more so when the fighting is up close and personal.
This may not be a movie for everyone, but if your an idealist who believes that doing the right thing counts and that you will fight against the tide no matter what it costs you, that you should see this movie and feel the emotion. You leave the movie energized.