The two questions raised by the new “Conan the Barbarian” reboot are whether newcomer Jason Momoa can fill the loincloth of Arnold Schwarzenegger, the original slayer-hero, and whether the film can rejuvenate the franchise for a new audience.
One thing critics agree on is that Momoa is a suitably buff replacement. He’s labeled “a luxury cut of beef” by the New York Times, a “slab of beef” by the Boston Globe and a “statuesque beefcake” by Time. That the titular barbarian wades through oceans of blood should come as no surprise to anyone. Depending on who you ask, it all adds up to mindless fun or mindless boredom.
In one of the more positive reviews, The Times’ Betsy Sharkey says the film “is brutal, bloody beyond belief, and has no socially redeeming value. So it is with a certain amount of guilt that I say it's kind of a wicked blast to watch, especially if you're in the mood for some righteous revenge.” She also applauds the film’s cinematography and production design: “From locations to sets, ‘Conan’ is drenched in detail that feels both ancient and mythic as Conan dogs the evil Khalar from mountain enclaves, through dungeons, into torture chambers and across seas.”