Genuinely spectacular and historically quite respectable, Ridley Scott's latest epic is at its strongest in conveying the savagery spawned by fanaticism.
The Hollywood Reporter
Fulfills the requirements of grand-scale moviemaking while serving as a timely reminder that in the conflict between Christianity and Islam it was the Christians who picked the first fight.
Kingdom of Heaven may have problems, but it delivers.
Odd as it is to say, Kingdom of Heaven loses its momentum the more Balian gets religion.
The battle skirmishes here mix sudden violence with slow-motion artistry. The attractive cast can sell an obsession or articulate a conundrum with equal fervor.
So, if you want to see this loud but rather ordinary epic, don't expect its tricked-up cultural and theological messages to carry much water. For entertainment value, it's hard to beat the climactic siege of Jerusalem, a Ridley Scott-perfect half-hour that matches anything in "Troy" or "Gladiator" for sheer, bloody, helmet-bashing mayhem.
Scott, working from a script by William Monahan, is so busy balancing our sympathies, making sure no one gets offended, that he has made a pageant of war that would have gotten a thumbs-up from Eleanor Roosevelt.
A frustratingly thin epic. You're left wanting more exposition, more character development, the tidying up of loose ends.
The New Yorker
One imagined that a movie about the Crusades would be gallant and mad; one feared that it might stoke some antiquated prejudice. But who could have dreamed that it would produce this rambling, hollow show about a boy?
The movie does what any self-respecting politician would do: sidestep the issues, soft-pedal mortal costs, talk a fat game, and divert your attention away from history with exercises in spectacle and power.