New Gladiator 2 Trailer Footage Gets Strong First Reactions Online

By David Thompson Posted:
Gladiator, Pedro Pascal

The first reviews for the Gladiator 2 trailer footage have been released online after critics reacted to footage shown at CinemaCon.

Fans are highly anticipating the release of Ridley Scott's Roman epic later this year, starring Paul Mescal, Denzel Washington, and Pedro Pascal. Scott is back to direct the sequel following 2000's Gladiator, led by Russell Crowe and Joaquin Phoenix.

After initially being announced in 2018, filming took place in 2023 and was interrupted by the writers' and actors' strikes, but is now fully complete and ready to be released.

Reactions to Gladiator 2 Footage

Russell Crow Gladiator poster

At CinemaCon, Gladiator 2 made an impact with its first footage, promising a sequel even better than the original, featuring new star Paul Mescal delving into anti-war politics.

Ridley Scott teased the long-awaited sequel, emphasizing its relevance after more than 20 years since the first film's release.

Many critics and members of the media were present for the Gladiator 2 footage, expressing some incredibly positive reactions on X (formerly Twitter).

Erik Davis reacted to the five minutes of footage, pointing out wild action, including "Massive Coliseum battles," "Shark-infested waters," battling "savage beasts" and "a guy riding a rhino:"

"NEW at CinemaCon: We just watched 5 minutes of 'Gladiator2' and holy crap! Massive Coliseum battles - on Shark-infested waters. Versus savage beasts. Versus a guy riding a rhino. Mescal. Washington. Pascal. Performances look ferocious in every sense. Coming this November!!"

Straw Hat Goofy (via @cariadquinn) also attended CinemaCon, pumping up the Gladiator 2 sneak peek, simply saying, "Trust me, it looks hype."

Keeping it brief, Jeff Sneider exclaimed in reaction to the Gladiator 2 footage, "My goodness!"

"'GLADIATOR 2'... my goodness! Wow."

Honing in on Pedro Pascal, Kenzie Vanunu posted that she feels like "this will be an all-timer performance from him:"

"Pedro Pascal is going to deliver what feels like an emotional and physical performance in 'Gladiator 2' and my GOD does he look good. I feel like this will be an all-timer performance from him."

Vanunu also gave a broader reaction, mentioning how Denzel Washington is wearing "hoop earnings" and Joseph Quinn is "evil" and "blonde:"

"'Gladiator 2' looks INCREDIBLE. sharks! blood! denzel washington in hoop earrings! Evil blonde joseph quinn! and let me tell you Paul Mescal.... he is going to deliver something brutal and legendary..... a movie star."

After self-proclaiming herself as a Gladiator 2 doubter, she admitted to having been "too stunned to speak" after seeing the fresh footage:

"Me and [Jillian Chilingerian] the biggest 'Gladiator' doubters just shocked and silent. Too stunned to speak"

Jillian Chilingerian posted several glowing responses to the Gladiator 2 trailer, stating that it was "giving scale and show" while star "Paul Mescal [is] perfectly cast opposite Denzel Washington:"

"'Gladiator 2' is coming for the Cinema Crown this year, that trailer was giving scale and show. Paul Mescal perfectly cast opposite Denzel Washington."

She continued, "No one is ready for the power ensemble" of the film:

"No one is ready for the power ensemble of Joseph Quinn, Paul Mescal, Denzel Washington, and Pedro Pascal in 'Gladiator 2.' Speechless."

Finally, she teased how "Ridley Scott ups the scale and brutality of the original" and Paul Mescal "is the most perfect casting:"

"Gladiator 2 looks like a high stakes, bloody brawl with the most perfect casting from Paul Mescal like you’ve never seen him before to icon Denzel Washington, Ridley Scott ups the scale and brutality of the original for an event you won’t want to miss. #CinemaCon"

Giving a more specific description of the footage shown, Film Codex noted that it was set to "Kanye West’s 'No Church in the Wild'" and "Joseph Quinn plays the villain:"

"Joseph Quinn plays the villain. The footage is set to Kanye West’s 'No Church in the Wild.' Pedro Pascal & Paul Mescal have a duel in a colosseum. Denzel Washington features heavily. Looks and feels like the perfect follow up to 'Gladiator.'"

Detailing more about Joseph Quinn's character, CineMovie TV said the actor stole "the scenes as the Emperor" and added that "Pedro Pascal is the emperor's gladiator" with fights being "bigger & more brutal:"

"Wow! Joseph Quinn steals the scenes as the Emperor in the first exclusive look at 'Gladiator II' trailer. Pedro Pascal is the emperor's gladiator while Paul Mescal is the people's gladiator. Denzel Washington is a sort of puppet master. Gladiator fights are bigger & more brutal"

Germain Lussier loved what he saw from the Gladiator 2 footage, calling it "the best thing" he saw at CinemCon and describing it as "every bit as epic and bloody as you're expecting:"

"Well, the first 'Gladiator 2' footage was instantly the best thing I've seen so far at CinemaCon. Every bit as epic and bloody as you're expecting. Just massive."

While losing some interest in recent Ridley Scott films, Scott Menzel noted that "Gladiator 2 looks absolutely badass" and it could be "a major awards player:"

"I haven’t been excited for a Ridley Scott film in a while but 'Gladiator 2' looks absolutely badass. This looks epic in every sense of the word. Paul Mescal, Pedro Pascal, and Denzel Washington take center stage in the footage that was shown. Looks like a major awards player."

In addition, Menzel stated that, "Film Twitter is going to absolutely lose their shit" after seeing Pascal and Mescal battle in the footage:

"Film Twitter is going to absolutely lose their shit when they see the battle between Pedro Pascal and Paul Mescal in 'Gladiator 2.'"

Daniel Howat called the footage "stunning" with "naval battles in the Colosseum" and added that its visuals are "right in line with the first film:"

The 'Gladiator II' footage looks stunning. They show naval battles in the Colosseum, fighting monkeys and rhinos, and more. 

Visually it’s right in line with the first film. Mescal and Pascal’s characters appear to go head to head."

Howat later admitted that he assumed Gladiator 2 "would be a bust" but the footage with "the cast is firing on all cylinders" won him over:

"I’ll he honest: I’ve been assuming 'Gladiator II' would be a bust. 

But after watching the extended trailer at CinemaCon 2024, I’m so much more excited for it. The footage looked genuinely so good, the cast is firing on all cylinders, and it’s right in line with the original film."

What To Expect From Gladiator 2

2000's Gladiator is a modern classic, mounting the pressure for the sequel with an entirely new cast.

Gladiator 2's plot details remain largely unknown, yet some hints have surfaced since its announcement. 

Ridley Scott's sequel centers on Lucius, portrayed by Paul Mescal, Commodus' (Joaquin Phoenix) nephew and admirer of Maximus (Russell Crowe) from the original film, likely following his journey to becoming a formidable Roman warrior. 

Mescal previously hinted at his character's journey, emphasizing the need for physical strength and that Lucius has "got to fight and got to be a beast:"

"Of course, there’s a physical robustness required for the character, but past that, I’m not interested. This guy’s got to fight and got to be a beast. And whatever that looks and feels like is right for me is what it’s going to be."

A clearer view of Gladiator 2 will be available to the masses when Paramount releases the first official teaser trailer.

Gladiator 2 opens in theaters on November 22.

- In This Article: Gladiator 2
Release Date
November 22, 2024
Denzel Washington
Paul Mescal
- About The Author: David Thompson
As an editor, writer, and podcast host, David is a key member of The Direct. He is an expert at covering topics like Marvel, DC, Star Wars, and business-related news following the box office and streaming.