At one point during this movie, during one of the fight scenes, I realized I was laughing. The fratboy types in front of me were laughing.

Even though none of it was real, we were all watching people die, and laughing. We were amused by it. I think that was the main point. We may claim to be more advanced now, but we're really just like the Romans. People stay the same.

There are shots of the arenas done with the same camera angles used in televised football. After killing some people, Maximus screams at the crowd, (and I paraphrase) "Are you not amused? Is this not why you came here today?" I felt like Scott was trying to say that sports (and action movies) are just the modern version of Bread and Circuses to keep the mob happy.

Also, is there some rule that movies about Rome have to be at least two and a half hours long?