As you can probably tell by the title, Pompeii is set in the Roman city of Pompeii in the year AD 79. It tells the story of Milo, played by Kit Harington of Game of Thrones fame. Milo is slave turned invincible gladiator who is forced into action to save the one he loves while the ancient city burns around him.

Pompeii Kit Harington at Milo in Pompeii

The fact that he’s invincible already raises question marks surrounding the plot’s plausibility. Of course, a film set in Pompeii will always have a certain amount of creative licence, but the audience still need to be able to put things together… The critics were equally unsure of Pompeii’s appeal, culminating in a measly 40% on Rotten Tomatoes. There are more reviews to come, but one gets the impression that score won’t be beaten.

Jordan Mintzer called it “A kitschy apocalyptic peplum whose visual epiphanies -- of which there are definitely a few -- cannot outdo a B- (or C- or D-) grade scenario that will have lots of eyes rolling by the time the big stack finally blows,” in his review for The Hollywood Reporter. “The eruption itself makes for some pyrotechnic thrills but the action and romance don't produce many sparks ...,” explains Screen International’s John Hazelton.

“If only Pompeii had been entrusted to a more entertaining hack than Anderson; this is the guy, after all, who decided that The Three Musketeers really needed a blimp battle,” wrote Alonso Duralde for The Wrap. It wasn’t all bad, though; Peter Debruge said, in his review for Variety: “While hardly high art, "Pompeii" certainly recognizes what mass audiences want from a "Game of Thrones"-style sword-and-scandal saga, delivering especially high marks as either a sudsy indulgence for teenage girls or beefcake offering to gay men.”

Watch the trailer for Pompeii