Travis Lytle’s review published on Letterboxd:
Ridley Scott's "Exodus: Gods and Kings" fullfills its requisite epic expectations with ease. Like the biblical epics of the past, Scott's film combines a cast of thousands, lavish costumes and sets, ancient landscapes, and undeniable sweep. While it is both impressive and refreshing to see the great director put together a distinctly old-fashioned epic, the film never reaches the heights that would make it truly great. It is rousing film of grand scale, but it misses out on offering more of the subtle moments that would make it triumphant.
Starring Christian Bale as Moses, "Exodus: Gods and Kings" tells the familiar story of the prophet whose name graces world religions. This film, however, introduces a Moses who is a warrior and a skeptic, following his arc from a man who wields a sword to a man who wields the word of God. The narrative follows the beats of Exodus, but it collapses the power God into more scientific or literal works. Moses becomes a man at odds with his identity, his strings pulled by something bigger than he is.
The story blends modern sensibilities with classic themes, but, thankfully, does not present a secular tale. God is in the details, and, although he does not act with Cecille B. DeMille-style operatics, his power is mighty. The human characters, though, could use a touch more grace, as the film is comfortable offering archetypes but nveer getting under the skins of its historical figures. Bale anchors his Moses in quiet intellect and muscular passions, but only in his quietest moments is Moses presented as someone with three dimensions.
Therein lies the biggest issue with "Exodus: Gods and Kings." It is a spectacularly designed and executed piece of work. Visually, sonically, and epically, the film is more than effective. It all feels superificial, however, creating an epic that is as empty as it is grand. Scott misses adding the human dimension to the work, making its title all the more fitting and, perhaps, disappointing.