I wasn't expecting much from this since --while being familiar with the character and the concept-- I've never read the comics, but I was pleasantly surprised by this. The movie has only the barest of plot and moves almost immediately into the bottled up nearly non-stop action setting that dominates 9/10ths of the film, but it always kept me interested and entertained.
The production design (both the external CGI shots and the extensive indoor practical sets) on both MC1 and Peach Trees was exceptional and really helped with the world building in my mind and just providing a picture of the massiveness of the city and the miserable nature of the existence of most of its people. While I didn't get many of the references hidden in the background from not reading the comics, I appreciate that they put that effort in there for the long-term fans.
Lena Headey and Wood Harris played excellent villains, though that is no surprise given their characters on Game of Thrones
and The Wire
. The mind battle between Anderson and Kay was particularly interesting and well-rendered. Could have done with a few less depictions of the effects of Slo-Mo, however, as that got old real fast.
Urban did a great job as Dredd, managing to give the character some nuance even despite the monotone growl and half-covered face that is the character's trademark. Thirlby did a good job as Anderson as well, managing to add some warmth and emotionalism to the duo. They had a few good laughs here and there, and always pulled off the action scenes well. The gatling gun sequence and Dredd's response was amazing.
This probably goes without saying but this was a massive improvement over the cheesy Stallone film. I give it a B+.