The blood-soaked Greek epic 300 and its new sequel, 300: Rise of an Empire, have hit the sweet spot in American culture, occupying the coveted space where straight dude-bros, neocons, and flagrant homosexual men meet. The only other things that occupy that space seem to be Men's Health, Bowflex ads, and for a moment, former U.S. Senator Scott Brown.
If you venture into the deep cuts section of 300 analysis, you'll find that the whole story might just be a neoconservative fever dream. Frank Miller, the author of the 300 comic book (the source material of the movie), gave an interview in 2007 in which he voiced some strong opinions about the state of the home-front. "It seems to me quite obvious that our country and the entire Western World is up against an existential foe that knows exactly what it wants … and we’re behaving like a collapsing empire," he told NPR. Though Miller didn't spell out distinctly that the Spartans are his vision of America, knowing his mentality can shape the way we interpret his art.
For more casual fans, 300 is the kind of movie that Best Buy uses to show off surround sound systems or something you watch hungover on a Saturday afternoon in the middle of July. Hyper-stylized, grunty, and rippling at the same time, 300 is empty-calorie movie consumption at its best. Straight dudebros love the rawr of war and fitness inspiration ("300 workout" continues to be a very popular Google search), but for gay guys, it's one of the guiltiest of pleasures. Here's why: