Kingdom of Heaven Reviews
Upon its release, "Kingdom of Heaven" was met with a mixed reception, with many critics being divided on the film. Critics such as Roger Ebert, found the film's message to be deeper than that of Scott's Gladiator. The cast was widely praised. Jack Moore described Edward Norton's performance as the leper-king Baldwin as "phenomenal", and "so far removed from anything that he has ever done that we see the true complexities of his talent". The Syrian actor Ghassan Massoud was praised for his portrayal of Saladin, described in The New York Times as "cool as a tall glass of water". Also commended were Eva Green, who plays Princess Sibylla "with a measure of cool that defies her surroundings", and Jeremy Irons. Lead actor Bloom's performance generally elicited a lukewarm reception from American critics, with the Boston Globe stating Bloom was "not actively bad as Balian of Ibelin", but nevertheless "seems like a man holding the fort for a genuine star who never arrives". One critic conceded that Balian was more of a "brave and principled thinker-warrior" rather than a strong commander, and Balian used brains rather than brawn to gain advantage in battle.
"Kingdom of Heaven" could´ve been an epic historical drama with a touch of "Spartacus" or "Ben-Hur" to it, but Scott manages to strangle anything that could go in that direction. First of all, putting Orlando Bloom in the lead role as Balian is a miscasting of big proportions as he simply don´t have the charisma, acting skills nor prescence to handle that sort of role. Second of all the acting is wishy washy and overacting is the main pillar from most involved. Third of all, the storyline is not fully logic nor interesting. Does it make sense that a blacksmith becomes a war leader, warrior extraordinaire and strategic wonder from out of nowhere? It´s a wonder how everything went pearshaped in this film with such an ensemble including names like Jeremy Irons, David Thewlis, Brendan Gleeson, Michael Sheen, Liam Neeson etc. The problem here is also that everything in "Kingdom of Heaven" becomes almost comical compared to the fantastic "Gladiator" which keeps itself on the right track to be convincing, entertaining and magic. I disliked "Kingdom of Heaven" when it came out and I still dislike "Kingdom of Heaven" when re-seeing it some week ago.