“King Arthur: Legend of the Sword” | Movie Review

HO00003124Grade (B+)


“KING ARTHUR: LEGEND OF THE SWORD” is directed by Guy Ritchie and stars; Charlie Hunnam, Jude Law, Eric Bana and Astrid Bergès-Frisbay. This is the story of a reluctant king as Arthur, separated from his family lineage as a child, grows up on the streets of Londinium.

Raised in a brothel, Arthur has no idea of his royal heritage until he pulls Excalibur sword from the stone and discovers the powers it possesses when in his hands. From there he will have to accept his place of royalty whether he likes it or not, as a ruthless dictator desperately clings to his power.

This has certainly been an interesting film and generated a ton of bad press before its wide theatrical release. It currently sits at a 26% on Rotten Tomatoes and I honestly cannot understand it. It’s May, we should all know what to expect from these summer blockbusters. Plus, they give you the option of a pair of 3D glasses when you go in.

It isn’t November and this one is directed by Guy Ritchie, not Martin Scorsese or Oliver Stone. So, if you are planning to go into this one to see a multi-layered story revolving around the life of King Arthur. With compelling performances and long bouts of preachy dialogue, you should check your calendar.

A film like that could be fascinating, it could also weave some Oscar worthy performances. But it will not get teenage butts in theater seats and that is what the Summer movie season is all about whether we like it or not. A summer film needs to appeal to the masses, and for as much as people may love and cherish the King Arthur story. A sword and sandal film with an overly serious tone wouldn’t kill it at the summer box-office any more than this youthful retelling would.

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Now if you want to go in and see a fun adventure set in the King Arthur period, with some visually appealing action, serviceable performances and some well timed comedy to lighten the tone, you will find some fun in this one. If you are looking for a tightly woven story-line you may be disappointed because the script never felt like the focus. If you like the direction and film style of Guy Ritchie you will also find some entertainment in this film because I think he did a fantastic job weaving his imprint with the source material.

Ritchie gets a bad rap but I think he is a great filmmaker that makes above all else, entertaining films. “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels” as well as “Snatch”, are classics to me. “RocknRolla” and “Revolver” were fun understated films. The recent Sherlock Holmes films and “The Man from UNCLE” are underrated in my opinion. Ritchie has his style, it may not work for everyone, but I think it worked excellently in this movie.

You can watch this movie with no knowledge of who the director was and still know it was a Guy Ritchie film and for a fan of his, I found his take on this story very enjoyable. Was it extremely memorable, not at all But for two-hours it took me on an amusing adventure, that kept itself from being too overly serious.

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The performances were all decent. Hunnam carries the film well enough but he still has some acting depth to build on, as well as more accent lessons to enroll in, because it did waver from time to time. But he was more than enough to fill the shoes of this role, that was honestly thin at best in terms of substance.

Jude Law made a nice addition, he does make the most out of some recycled material and does feel overly theatrical at times. But when you are clearly the most skilled actor in the film and working with the same level of dialogue as the rest of the characters it’s natural to try and elevate the role. But he comes off believable and his effort was enough to give this one some stability.

Now this movie is called “King Arthur” colon “Legend of the Sword” and that was pretty much exactly what it delivered. This was the legend of the sword; the Excalibur sword was the star of the film pretty much, as well as the world the story was set in. The characters were simply a means to an end, but had enough substance to carry the entertainment along. This cut-and-dry a sword and sandal film for a general audience and it works. The film knows its target audience and caters to them extremely well.

I was on the fence with this movie and had little expectations. From watching the trailers, I knew what it was going to deliver and the only question was whether I would like it, and I did. I thought this was an entertaining, disposable summer movie. It kept a steady pace, Guy Ritchie’s injection of humor is very effective. The special-effects were well done and there were a handful of fun action-sequences. So, if that all sounds fun and the trailers and TV spots have appeal to you, then this one is worth a one-time watch.


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