So instead of black and white, at the center of the Illiad is an odd take on us-and-them: we are great but flawed. The unattainable standard of heroism is embodied in the other. More: we destroyed the ideal hero (Hector). The nominal hero, Achilles, lives on - an interesting ploy of Homer's, as Achilles lives only because Homer stopped the tale shortly before Achilles' death. (In other versions of the story he dies during the sacking of Troy.)
On a macro level the Iliad is also subversive. While it is a book that celebrates a great Greek victory, the prominence and glorification of Hector implies that the Greeks were wrong in fighting the war. There is great sadness in the destruction of Hector and his civilization, and the Greeks come off as brutes.
There is a humanism in the Iliad that you seldom see in historical fiction. No man dies anonymously. If a man dies in the Iliad, the means of his death is described, as is the name of his father and something of his history. This makes it a bit bloody, for sure (some might say there are endless descriptions of ghastly fatal wounds), but it is also very respectful of life.
Achilles doesn't refuse to fight because of any moral qualms; he's just mad that Agamemnon has taken his slave-girl Briseis away. Achilles didn't want any part of this expedition in the first place, but was forced to go. Hector is forced to defend his city, but wants only a peaceful life with his wife and young son. Despite the bloodiness of the story, the Iliad is profoundly anti-war.
All this makes sense when you think that Homer (or a collection of writers we call Homer) was writing at the end of the dark ages and is describing the cause of the dark ages (as I've argued before). You could see the central premise of the Iliad as: The heroic deeds of our (Greek) heroes resulted in hundreds of years when civilization died.
Okay, if you got this far, here's a little Illiad joke to reward you:
Q: What's a millihelen?
A: The amount of beauty sufficient to launch one ship.