'Conan the Barbarian's' Jason Momoa: What Critics Say

August 19: "Conan the Barbarian"

Mini-major Lionsgate is hoping to relaunch the sword-and-sorcery franchise made famous by Arnold Schwarzenegger. The new 3D outing puts Jason Mamoa in the lead, and also stars Rose McGowan, Stephen Lang and Ron Perlman.

Lionsgate is already heavily marketing the film in an effort to reintroduce audiences to the franchise. But in an unusually crowded August, Conan has the advantage of being a purely male-driven product, which separates it from nearby releases Fright Night and Final Destination 5.

Called "a spectacle to behold,” the actor is praised for bringing "a very different physical presence to the role than Schwarzenegger did."

Conan the Barbarian will open in theaters on Friday, and while the film is receiving mixed reviews, the work by star Jason Momoa, has seen favorable critiques overall.

Momoa, who was last seen in HBO’s Game of Thrones, essentially makes his big screen debut with the hero epic, and makes it in a big way as the sword-swinging, shirtless leading man.

“Replacing Arnold Schwarzenegger as the original Barbarian is Jason Momoa, a Hawaiian-born hulk with ripped muscles and absurd good looks,” wrote The Hollywood Reporter’s Kirk Honeycutt. “He certainly fits the part. For that matter, all the casting works in visual terms.”

However, Honeycutt was not impressed with the acting overall. “Alas, blunt-force acting rules the screen with everyone grunting, snarling and posturing to ludicrous effect,” he wrote.

REVIEW: Conan the Barbarian

AP’s Christy Lemire is blunt with her thoughts on the film, writing that “there's very little that's pleasurable in this new Conan, aside from allowing us to ogle the muscular, 6-foot-5 physique of up-and-coming action star Jason Momoa.”

“If you're into that kind of thing, that is -- he is a spectacle to behold, albeit in a romance-novel cover-model kind of way,” she writes.

“It has a better actor as star,” wrote Roger Moore of the Orlando Sentinel, referring to Jason Momoa’s acting as an improvement over former Conan actor, Schwarzenegger.

“Momoa cuts a fine figure of a Conan. I’ll bet he could have handled a little humor as well as he handled his oversized sword,” wrote Moore.

VIDEO: 'Conan the Barbarian': How Jason Momoa Prepared for the Role

“The master stroke here was the discovery and casting of Jason Momoa as Conan,” wrote Drew McWeeny of HitFix. “In terms of film, though, this is his big introduction, and what he captures that Arnold Schwarzenegger never did is the sense that this guy's a great big coiled animal, lean but ridiculously ripped, and he brings a very different physical presence to the role than Schwarzenegger did.”

“He plays it as a thinking beast, a guy with an innate knowledge of how to kill absolutely everything he encounters, and whatever else I thought about the film, Momoa was the right guy for the gig,” wrote McWeeny.