The real world is much scarier than the underground fairy kingdom. The real "monster" in the film is Captain Vidal, who cold-bloodedly murders two innocent peasants. Comparatively speaking, Pan (the only Ancient Greek god who have tasted death and is able to "panic" others), the Pale Man (whose eyes are on its hands), the giant toad (symbolizing lust) and eerie fairies are less fierce.
2. Dictatorship VS Free will
Fascism is an authoritarian regime favoring complete obedience to authority, while republicans are in pursuit of freedom. Meanwhile, Ofelia exercises her free will and makes several decisions on her own in the movie.
3. Reality VS Imagination
The brilliant ending is like an ink-blot test. Whether the ending is a tragedy or not depends on your own interpretation. Audiences are advised to pay attention to the magic chalk, the mandrake root, the narrator, the story books, Ofelia's reaction while meeting Pan, the moving walls in the labyrinth, the fairies transforming themselves from praying mantises, etc. A detailed discussion can be found in the following website. Indeed, the director believes the fairies in the movie are real, but he also agrees with those believing those monsters are just imagined by the desperate girl who is eager to escape from the traumatizing reality. Two interpretations also make sense, which makes the ending an unforgettable one.
http://www.twitchfilm.net/archives/008507.html (Director's words)
95.3% of the reviews are positive - 162 positive reviews VS 8 negative reviews
IMBD user rating: 8.5 out of 10 (33836 votes)
93% of the reviews are positive - 104 positive reviews VS 6 negative reviews
IMBD user rating: 8.5 out of 10 (7387 votes)