First, General Maximus (from the Roman army) plans to attack the enemy with flaming arrows. Then, they’ll fight in a face to face encounter and finally the Romans will attack their enemies from behind as a surprise element. This way, the enemies will be surrounded and they won’t be able to escape or survive. On the other hand, the strategy of the people from Germania was only to attack from the front in a bloody face to face battle.
While Roman clothes were strong armor with tight pants, German wardrobe was very similar, except that they didn’t have as much strong armor as the Romans and they weren’t all dressed like “army warriors”. All of them, Romans and Germans, used metal helmets and large swords, spears or gores.
Maximus is of great importance to the Roman army. He’s a general whose decisions and strategy made his army win many battles.
Marcus Aurelius plans to name General Maximus as his successor in order to restore the power of the Roman Senate. However, his power-hungry, jealous son Commodus learns of the plan, murders Marcus Aurelius, and plans to execute Maximus in order to secure his claim to the throne. Maximus escapes execution but his family was murdered. A caravan founds him nearly dead and he’s sold into slavery to become one of Proximo’s gladiators.
Meanwhile, Commodus and Lucilla, who have a weird brother-sister relationship, are now in charge of the Roman empire. She’s actually scared of him because he’s inmature, corrupt and because of the fact he killed his own father. Despite this, she tries to advice him because she’s better politician than he is. The senate isn’t happy at all with Commodus and specially senator Gracchus who offers Lucilla to help her and Maximus to kill him.
An important thing to say is that Lucilla and Maximus had a relationship long time ago, but it doesn’t mean they don’t love each other anymore. They do. Besides, she wants him to become the real emperor of Rome and that’s also why she accepts to kill his brother.
Maximus fights as a gladiator and he shows bravery in the Colosseum arena.
He does really well. That’s how he wins the masses and later reveals his true identity to a confused and frightened Commodus. At that moment, he refers at Maximus as “The general who became a slave. The slave who became a gladiator. The gladiator who defied an Emperor.”
Commodus learns of the plot Lucilla, Gracchus and Maximus were planing and he accuses her of betrayal. He threatens her to kill her son Lucius, so she tells him all about their plan. Commodus sent some men to kill Maximus, therefore he is captured and taken to be killed.
The Caesar, Commodus, knows Maximus is more loved by the mass than he is, due to this he plans to kill him in the same Colosseum arena Maximus is always cheered. But, he first stabs Maximus in the side to cause him a slow and unnoticed death and to be sure to kill him.
That mortal stab didn’t avoid Maximus to kill Commodus. I’m not saying he didn’t die. He did. But first he killed Commodus and earned the respect of Rome.
For me, this was a magnificent movie although I have some disagreements with some characters. For instance, if I were Maximus, I would have accepted the title of Caesar almost immediatly and saved all the problems that came after. Besides, unless Lucius really knew to keep a secret, I wouldn’t have told him or let him find out that I was plotting with Maximus, like Lucilla did. Anyway, I suppose everything what happens is important to the development of the film story.
Finally, I found interesting (and I suppose everyone does), a special phrase that resumes the importance of the movie for our lives. It says like this: “What we do in life echoes in eternity.”