Among the trailers that came out during Comic-Con, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword was the least exciting . It sports Guy Ritchie directing and stars Charlie Hunnam, Jude Law, Djimon Hounsou, Eric Bana, and Aidan Gillen. With every trailer that came out, it seemed seem worse and worse. I was losing interest fast. Eventually the Rotten Tomatoes started getting released, and the score was hovering around 5%, even though most of the reviews were saying positive things. By the time I went to see it, the Rotten Tomatoes score had jumped to 21%, and it was rising quickly.
I would give this version of King Arthur a solid 8 “good guys always have a blue sword” out of 10.
FOR THE UNITIATED
We open up with backstory of Vortigern (Jude Law) and how he usurped the throne from Uther Pendragon (Eric Bana). Luckily Uther knew something was up and shipped off his sole heir Arthur (eventually Charlie Hunnam). Fast forward several years, Excalibur appears, and as all legends say, it stuck in a stone, only to be removed by the true king. A quite rebellion starts, and as all crazed dictators act when fearing a prophecy, Vortigern goes crazy. In a desperate attempt to find his nephew, he ships men in to attempt to pull the sword out, and that is where we learn Author is the One. The rebellion grows and he teams up with one of his father’s knights (Djimon Hounsou) and a mage (Astrid Bergès-Frisbey). Together they hatch a plan to take down the false king.
This is a solid Guy Ritchie movie. By that I mean the wit, music, and montages are top notch. If I had to narrow it all down to the single best aspect, I would say it is Eric Bana’s screen time. Why this man isn’t in more movies where he wields a sword is beyond me. The first part of the cold open has maybe one line of dialogue and it establishes Uther as an utter badass. He goes on to singlehandedly stop an invasion from one of the most powerful wizards with two ridiculously sized elephants single-handedly. Even when he is ultimately defeated by a Skeletor wannabe, he makes it look damn good.
During the movie I was struggling to find a major fault … until the conclusion of the movie. King Arthur carried a breakneck speed up to the final fight, at which point it went from 100 mph to 5 mph. The showdown seemed to completely forget there were two armies and focused on Arthur vs Vortigern. Which this fight was basically one-sided … until it flipped the other way. There was little balance, which was severely lacking since that was almost the theme of the movie. Maybe if there was a little bit more back and forth, it would have made everything slightly more exciting.
Then there was the conclusion. Of course they are setting up for a potential sequel with Arthur becoming King, but this treated it as almost satire. We get to see Charlie Hunnam wearing a white v-neck t-shirt while getting knighted and crowned, and no this wasn’t the first time a modern white shirt makes an appearance. Why couldn’t they stick with slightly more time appropriate costumes? Also, I wish they could have at least tried to set up another villain with the vikings. But that only matters if the movie ends up profitable, and Guy Ritchie takes his sweet time filming sequels / trilogies.
My best to worst ratio may not reflect it, but I do reccommend it. It currently has a score of 79% on Rotten Tomatoes, and thats a huge jump from earlier this week. This is a FUN movie. Guy Ritchie brings his quick wit and creative dialogue / storytelling to the myth of King Arthur. He also brings his flair to the action by making an assassination attempt into a heist. In all seriousness, go watch King Arthur on the big screen immediately.
Generally I limit myself to one movie, but similar to my last review I have ~2 recommendations. The first is Troy. Seeing Eric Bana emit his badass-ness all over the screen reminded me of his take on Hector. There are not many people that can lose a big fight and look fantastic doing it, but Eric Bana sure can! Troy (for those who dont know) is a realistic telling of Homer’s epic story The Iliad. A Trojan princess runs off with the queen of Sparta and all of Greece decides to avenge this slight.
My second recommendation is a tv show, Marco Polo. It features Tom Wu playing a similar character that trains everyone how to fight, granted he’s way more awesome here. It is also similarly a more fantastical rendition of a history/myth focusing on Genghis Khan. It didn’t get great reviews or picked up for a third season since it was slated to be a Game of Thrones competitor, which it isn’t. … but is definitely worth the watch.