Wow! If anything better than the classic 1959 version. Grittier and more authentic. Fuller character development. Clearer story of revenge and redemption.
I haven’t read Lew Wallace’s novel, upon which all the movies are based, but this is certainly different from the 1959 film. Better, in my opinion. Not watered down nor candy-coated. Not a gore-fest or action story, though the chariot race was dramatically staged and filmed.
The portrayal of Jesus of Nazareth will be controversial, of course.
Technical: first movie in a long time to get Roman uniforms and equipment correct, including, especially the armor. The most glaring discrepancy was the stirrups, but modern actors can’t ride horses without them.
Some viewers may question the lifestyle of Judah Ben-Hur’s family. Many Hellenized Jews lived that way, including many of the Sadducee (priestly) faction.