King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

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king arthur legend of the sword
Well at least Ritchie didn't go the Michael Bay route and add a bunch of unnecessary crap to Excalibur. Cause you know Bay would.

"You're quickly becoming a legend."

Forgive me for saying this, but I've never been into the whole King Arthur thing. Maybe I was too obsessed as a child with playing Dungeons and Dragons on the Intellivision system, or busy watching classic Star Trek reruns to even notice how popular the tales had become? As a Lord of the Rings fan, you would think that I'd be on board by now. Me being a movie guy, I would probably explain my lack of enthusiasm to be based off of the films I have seen (and the sad fact that I was too lazy to read as a child) and trust me, nothing has tickled my fancy (so far). The handful of King Arthur related pictures I've seen like Monty Python and the Holy Grail (too goofy), Excalibur (fell asleep watching), First Knight (boring), Black Knight (Martin Lawrence cash grab), and King Arthur 2004 (one cool frozen lake fight, that's it), were not enough to make me a fan. So perhaps modern hip director Guy Ritchie (RocknRolla) can help breathe some new life into this starving story?

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

When Ritchie gave us his amped up version of Sherlock Holmes in 2009, I liked what I was seeing. However some styles can only be done or mimicked for so long before they come off as cliche. If the entire run of King Arthur: Legend of the Sword had been done in his expected style, I would have thought that this old dog's tricks had gotten stale. Instead though, Ritchie uses that style sparingly and pumps up the film with it whenever it's needed. My many problems with this movie are made to go down easier, by it's cool visuals and fun moments. Yet what cannot be overlooked, is that even if Ritchie is smart enough to not waste people's patience by quick editing and fast-forwarding through training montages and the events of young Arthur's past, he doesn't have the knack (this time around) for getting us into his characters. More on the players later. Through Ritchie's energy and wit, there's not one moment in King Arthur: L.O.T.S. that got me bored or sleepy. The intro scene is an awesome spectacle of computer generated battle that sets the tone. In retrospect, the scene looks and plays so damn good that maybe it should have been saved for the end, because nothing really gets any better from here. There are however more than a few scenes that visually take advantage of the huge budget.

There's only one person to root for during this entire thing, and that's with Jude Law's (Cold Mountain) cruel sadomasochist King Vortigern. The character deserves his eventual comeuppance, especially while watching Law's acting strengths as he relishes in being a better actor than everybody else on the set, including star Charlie Hunnam (Crimson Peak). Hunnam's a likeable guy and his commitment to the role is admirable, yet (regardless of what accent he's using) if you've seen him in one thing (Sons of Anarchy), then you've seen the same range in everything else he's been in as well (Pacific Rim). It's even possible that if he had signed on for those Fifty Shades of Grey films, they actually could have been worse. The same goes for many of his costars as well. Djimon Hounsou (Gladiator), Aiden Gillen (Game of Thrones), and Eric Bana (Troy), do and say not a damn thing different than with any previous performance of theirs. In fact, their casting seems like a desperate ploy to make up for the script's lack of character appeal. Everyone has a cocky confidant smile, but that can only take you so far. I never fell in love with any of the characters, and that hurts King Arthur: L.O.T.S. more than anything else. I couldn't even get into Astrid Bergès-Frisbey's (Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides) part as the Mage (and possibly Arthur's future love interest). Although normally gorgeous and lively, she's made to look and sound like a heroin junkie with laryngitis, and leaves me to wonder why.

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, of King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

The Good- Bana sacrificing his horse for glory, Law sacrificing his family for power to "Ursula", Arthur's training montage (people and monsters), and Hunnam turning into a fainting He-Man when two-handing Excalibur.

The Bad- "Bitch, shouldn't you have used the giant snake a whole lot earlier?!"

The Ugly- How every news and social media outlet was ready to ponce on this film when it became apparent that it wasn't going to be the mega blockbuster that the studio was gunning for, even going so far as to make a big deal out of celebrity athlete David Beckham's small cameo. If wasting air time and making a big deal out of a couple of lines of dialogue is what's being shown as news nowadays, then the system is much worse than this film, my friends.

Final Thoughts

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword is not a bad movie. The problem, is that it's not a good movie either. It's got the wit, it's got the style, but it doesn't have heart. And that just sucks. Ritchie could make us believe that Jax Teller could pull the sword from the stone, but he also made us believe that he pulled the film's heart out of his ass as well.

Rating- 6 out of 10

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (2017)

guy ritchie king arthur
King Arthur Legend Of the Sword

Robbed of his birthright, Arthur comes up the hard way in the back alleys of the city. But once he pulls the sword from the stone, he is forced to acknowledge his true legacy - whether he likes it or not.
Director: Guy Ritchie
Writers: Joby Harold (screenplay), Guy Ritchie (screenplay)
Stars: Charlie Hunnam, Astrid Bergès-Frisbey, Jude Law
PG-13 | 2h 6min | Action, Adventure, Drama | 12 May 2017 (USA


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