Kingdom of Heaven Reviews

David Ansen
Newsweek
Top Critic
November 1, 2007


Time Out
Top Critic
June 24, 2006


AV Club
Top Critic
September 26, 2005


St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Top Critic
July 5, 2005

Desson Thomson
Washington Post
Top Critic
May 6, 2005

As Balian and his people withstand the might of Saladin's fiery projectiles, siege towers and the usual computer-generated swarm of soldiers, it's hard not to think we're really watching The Lord of the Rings IV: Legolas Defends Jerusalem.

Stephen Hunter
Washington Post
Top Critic
May 6, 2005

Is Orlando Bloom enough of a star to sustain a $100 million costume drama? The answer turns out to be yes.

Stephanie Zacharek
Salon.com
Top Critic
May 6, 2005

Since we barely know what's at stake -- we're too confused and bored to care -- all this fighting means nothing to us, and yet Scott still hopes to rev us up with it.

Geoff Pevere
Toronto Star
Top Critic
May 6, 2005

Considerably more ambitious and significantly less satisfying than Gladiator.

Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
David Edelstein
Slate
Top Critic
May 6, 2005

An epic about Christian crusaders who happen to be liberal humanists willing to die for the sake of religious tolerance. That's just ... weird.

Tom Keogh
Seattle Times
Top Critic
May 6, 2005

Mostly uninvolving; a movie you admire for its craft rather than enjoying for its passion.

Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic
May 6, 2005

To say that Scott did a beautiful job directing Kingdom of Heaven would be true, but it wouldn't convey the nature of the achievement.

Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic
May 6, 2005

Scott's battles are ferocious things of grim beauty -- bloody, personal and deafening crashes of armored men and horses colliding at full gallop.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
Top Critic
May 6, 2005

As Balian, a blacksmith turned Crusader, Orlando Bloom should embody a character who passes through some sort of transforming crucible. Yet he learns nothing.

Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Lou Lumenick
New York Post
Top Critic
May 6, 2005

The battle sequences here are actually worth the cost of admission, and there is exemplary supporting work by Liam Neeson, Jeremy Irons, Edward Norton and especially Syrian actor Ghassan Massoud as the legendary Muslim leader Saladin.

| Original Score: 3/4
Andrew Sarris
New York Observer
Top Critic
May 6, 2005

The religious sentiment accumulates into a tower of politically correct Jell-O.

Jack Mathews
New York Daily News
Top Critic
May 6, 2005

Filmed in Morocco, in Spain and in computers, Kingdom fills a vast canvas with breathtaking spectacle. In contrast, most of the performances are blandly ordinary.

Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
Top Critic
May 6, 2005

If the picture isn't as engaging as it should have been, Scott's images still make it entrancing.

Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Eric Harrison
Houston Chronicle
Top Critic
May 6, 2005

A $130 million epic with much to marvel at and great battle scenes, but it dazzles the senses while barely touching the heart.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Liam Lacey
Globe and Mail
Top Critic
May 6, 2005

No one should be offended except, of course, those who like movies that excite the mind as well as the pulse.

Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Tom Long
Detroit News
Top Critic
May 6, 2005

Dramatically, the problem is it's a lot easier to root for someone battling tigers and gladiators than it is to cheer on a guy wondering about the meaning of life. This is why Waiting for Godot has never been made into a summer movie blockbuster.

| Original Score: C+
Robert Denerstein
Denver Rocky Mountain News
Top Critic
May 6, 2005

Scott's interesting but uneven effort doesn't disappoint when it comes to the siege of Jerusalem, which has scale and a truly frightening quality.

| Original Score: B-
Lisa Kennedy
Denver Post
Top Critic
May 6, 2005

Never straying from issues of war and peace, organized religion and an individual's relationship to God, Kingdom of Heaven earns the right to rattle its swords.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Ty Burr
Boston Globe
Top Critic
May 6, 2005

A mostly lumbering, occasionally rousing epic that walks a bizarre line between historical fact and Hollywood wishful thinking.

Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Terry Lawson
Detroit Free Press
Top Critic
May 6, 2005

An exceedingly well-made, reasonably involving and impressively intelligent movie about political and religious turmoil in 1186.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Mike Clark
USA Today
Top Critic
May 5, 2005

Even a persuasive supporting cast gets Heaven only so far.

Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic
May 5, 2005

A spectacular battle for Jerusalem, as only Ridley Scott could direct.

Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic
May 5, 2005

That rare big-star blockbuster (Orlando Bloom, Liam Neeson and Jeremy Irons top the cast) that still manages to have something relevant to say.

Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Philip Wuntch
Dallas Morning News
Top Critic
May 5, 2005

Scott continues to be a master of chaotic mayhem.

Full Review | Original Score: B-
Bill Muller
Arizona Republic
Top Critic
May 5, 2005

The biggest shortcoming of this crusader story is not that Scott twists the facts (he does), but that he can't elevate the story to something more than an alluring re-creation.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Manohla Dargis
New York Times
Top Critic
May 5, 2005

Ridley Scott's plaintive epic about the Crusades is an ostensibly fair-minded, even-handed account of one of the least fair-minded, even-handed chapters in human history.

Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Carrie Rickey
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic
May 5, 2005

The cinematography, supporting performances and battle sequences are so meticulously mounted that they still compel, even when Bloom fails to.

| Original Score: 2.5/4
Jeff Strickler
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic
May 5, 2005

The climax features a dandy battle, but getting to it requires sitting through nearly two hours of posturing and pontificating.

Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Bruce Newman
San Jose Mercury News
Top Critic
May 5, 2005

The Crusades lasted just over 200 years, which is longer than Kingdom of Heaven, although not by as much as you might hope.

| Original Score: 2/4
Jan Stuart
Newsday
Top Critic
May 5, 2005

Director Ridley Scott is so adept at moving crowds and engendering awe that one can easily overlook his skill with actors.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Eleanor Ringel Gillespie
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Top Critic
May 5, 2005

Jerusalem, Saladin tells Balian, is 'everything' and 'nothing.' Scott's well-crafted, intelligent epic inhabits some middle ground between the two -- better than nothing, but not everything it should be.

Full Review | Original Score: C
Scott Foundas
L.A. Weekly
Top Critic
May 5, 2005

A tract against religious intolerance, rife with philosophizing about the consequences of acts committed in God's name that sounds decidedly more modern than medieval.

Michael Wilmington
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic
May 5, 2005

Even when the drama falters, the movie shimmers with palatial splendor, explodes with adventure and reeks with bloodshed and horror.

Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4

Ebert & Roeper
Top Critic
May 5, 2005

Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
Top Critic
May 4, 2005

William Monahan's deft script underscores the modern parallels in this story without hitting us upside the head.

| Original Score: 3/4
Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic
May 4, 2005

[A] handsome but curiously remote Crusades epic.

Full Review | Original Score: B-
Michael Atkinson
Village Voice
Top Critic
May 3, 2005

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.

Todd McCarthy
Variety
Top Critic
May 3, 2005

Genuinely spectacular and historically quite respectable.

Kirk Honeycutt
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic
May 3, 2005

Kingdom 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.

James Berardinelli
ReelViews
Top Critic
May 3, 2005

You may not leave the theater feeling better educated about history or enlightened about the Crusades, but you will leave satisfied that the filmmakers have delivered 145 minutes of exciting, visceral cinema.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Anthony Lane
New Yorker
Top Critic
May 2, 2005

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?