In the 3.19.07 issue of Maclean’s (which I haven’t yet found an online link to), critic Brian D. Johnson‘s lead review starts with a catchy sub-head: “No wonder Hitler loved these guys — Spartan supermen celebrate the joy of war in 300.”

“There’s something brazenly fascistic in how 300 champions muscularity, militarianism and physical purity over ugliness and disease. But then Sparta’s warrior nation was a model for Hitler’s Germany. And with its stunning choreography of shields, swords and spears, 300 plays like the bastard offspring of Braveheart and Triumph of the Will.”

Johnson notes with some fairness that unlike the Nazis, the Spartans were defending their freedom from foreign tyrants and not laying waste to the world.

“But as 300‘s messianic hero happily leads his troops into what is essentially an act of mass suicide,” he goes on, “it’s hard not to think of fascists, suicide bombers and fundamentalists who promote the righteous beauty of marching off to a perfect death.” (Thanks to D. Atkinson of Manitoba for passing this along.)