King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, 2017.
Directed by Guy Ritchie.
Starring Charlie Hunnam, Astrid Berges-Frisbey, Jude Law, Djimon Hounsou, Aiden Gillen, Eric Bana, Freddie Fox, Neil Maskell, and Annabelle Wallis.
Robbed of his birth right, 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.
If you don’t like Guy Ritchie’s directing style then you will not enjoy King Arthur: Legend of the Sword. If you are more open to it then it’s an entertaining and inoffensively enjoyable action romp with a great hammy villain performance from Law and a solid leading man turn from Hunnam.
In this incarnation of the King Arthur legend, Arthur (Hunnam) has been raised in a brothel and is an adept street fighter. After escaping the clutches of his evil Uncle (Law) as a young child he is unaware of his birth right at the King of Camelot. By chance he ends up pulling the sword from the stone (in a scene with a truly awful and hilariously bad cameo with David Beckham) and sets off on an epic journey to become king.
The first half of the film does feel quite slow in terms of pace and there is a feeling that Ritchie has watching Lord of the Rings, taken a few ideas and attempted to craft an engaging story but not quite pulled it off. Where the fun comes is in the second half with a ton of exhilarating action, some characters to care about and a finale that’s good fun. As mentioned above, Ritchie’s stylised directing isn’t for everyone and there is a lot of style over substance in King Arthur. Slow-mo is used at random points and doesn’t quite work, there’s an over reliance on CGI which looks a bit poor. But then you also get Ritchie’s kinetic editing, Tarantino-esque banter (which works well in the setting) and some great uses of attached body cameras.
The first in a planned five film series, Legend of the Sword is a solid no-brain actioner that’s amusing in places, entertaining and thrilling. It’s far from perfect but an enjoyable watch.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★