…I’d be super-down for this…Denzel throws dust into the eyes of a charging rhino!…some other actor (Chris Walken?) saying to 20-years-younger Denzel “you shall be my instrument.” That I could easily go for. That I would delight in.

But I can’t invest in a gladiator flick film starring Paul “weepy dad + milky complexion + greasy whiskers” Mescal. He’s too vulnerable, too meditative, too watery-eyed. Not my kind of alpha male. 24 years ago Russell Crowe had that X-factor, coiled-tension, charging-bull quality, and Mescal is supposed to be his son? Not buying it. Outside of the deranged HE commentariat trolls, relatively few are.

If Ridley had gone with a real man, fine. But the tearful, melancholy, too-quick-to-smile father from Afterburn? Forget it. He’s not good-looking enough. His jaw is too pointy, too Margaret Hamilton.

There’s no trusting a trailer, of course, but I’m sensing that the overall tone of Gladiator II is on the porno-violent side…overly emphasized…more blood, more severed limbs, more howling rage, etc. But at least there’s no more herky-jerky cinematography.