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Gladiator though not the most intellectually stimulating film of this decade was deeper and more complex than one might gather from it at first glance Its theme was not a simple good-guy versus bad-guy one as one might gather from the title In fact Gladiator in essence had very little to do with gladiators Its real purpose its real underlying flavor was to depict a mans struggle against decadence in his society and to restore it to the disciplined one that it had been a man who was driven not by outlandish ideals but by down-to-earth loyalties and affections The plot of this film is relatively simple Marcus Aurelius empreror of Rome at the time asks Maximus his favorite general to become emperor after his death and eventually restore the power to the senate Commodus the son of Aurelius is jealous of Maximus and kills his father afterwards asking Maximus for his loyalty When Maximus refuses Commodus attempts to have him and his family killed he succeeds in killing his family but fails to kill him Instead Maximus is captured by slave traders and becomes a gladiator a job which lends itself to his leadership skills and warrior abilities Throughout his career as a gladiator Maximuss primary objectives are to save Rome from Commodus and to avenge the murder of his family Convenienty both objectives have the same solution The film opens essentially with a scene depicting a pitched battle between Romans and German barbarians Maximus is at this point commander of a Roman legion and the legion performs masterfully Against wildly roaring barabarians coagulated into an unruly mob the Roman legionaires advance with discipline and even in some ways grace All the while the superior Roman technology rains fire upon the barbarians The effect of this imagery is to illustrate not only the power of the Roman legions nor even their relative modernity but also to demonstrate the pride Maximus has
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