After viewing King Arthur: Legend of the Sword starring Charlie Hunnam as the royal titular character, one could assume Director Guy Ritchie is a huge fan of Game of Thrones and thought “Hey, I can do that!”. The tales of King Arthur have been depicted on the big screen before in films like Disney’s animated The Sword and the Stone and the 1981 classic Excalibur, but you’ve never seen anything like the Snatch Director’s take on the man who would be king. For better or worse, Ritchie brings his slow mo visual style to the man and the myth going way over the top to catch the audience’s attention.
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword leans heavy on the origin story of the lost king starting with an action packed prologue showing the heroic prowess of Arthur’s father Uther (Eric Bana) taking out some humongous magical elephants (Yes, you read that right). Arthur’s family is betrayed by his power-hungry uncle Vortigern played in a silly manner by Jude Law. There are times through the movie where Law actually looks like he’s going to a club in LA with his wardrobe rather than ruling the Kingdom of Camelot. From there we see Arthur become a street wise kid and who ends up running a very successful brothel until he is forced to pull a sword from a stone which causes all Hell to break out in the kingdom.
Director Guy Ritchie definitely gives the viewer a menagerie of images to take in over the course of King Arthur: Legend of the Sword. Ritchie’s trademark slow motion style is present and there are a few cool scenes where this technique makes for some striking visuals. This new take on the old legend tries so hard to be something fresh and epic with its supernatural beings and magic swords, yet misses the mark when it comes to a film we actually care about. Cool characters battling monsters only works if they give the ticket buyers something to root for and this is absent in King Arthur: Legend of the Sword which lacks any kind of heart. An R-rating could have helped set this film apart from other adaptations as well, but Ritchie and Warner Bros. took the safe route trying to kickstart this series which comes across as a slightly better version of the goofy Gods of Egypt.
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword keeps your attention while the film is rolling, but it’s easily forgettable the second you walk out of the theater. Some of the story telling is absolutely ludicrous and our villain’s actions are seen coming from a mile away. Also the absence of the beloved wizard Merlin doesn’t help this project out whatsoever, especially if Warner Bros. hopes to start a franchise with this new film. The famous character needed to be involved and not having him present in the story hurts this film tremendously from the start since you’re left with Charlie Hunnam’s charisma (or lack of) that can’t match his good looks. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword is all flair with no substance.
Overall, I give King Arthur: Legend of the Sword 2 out of 4 stars.
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