If you’re fan of either Guy Ritchie or King Arthur, I think you’ll be very pleased with King Arthur: Legend Of the Sword.
Fresh and visually captivating, you haven’t ever seen this King Arthur before. This is an ass-kickin’ King Arthur who grew up rough on the streets in a house of ill repute. He knows how to cheat, lie, steal, and fight without anything other than his bare knuckles. Yet, there is a golden heart beneath the gruff exterior, perhaps even a noble one.
If you’re unfamiliar with the general story of King Arthur, his father (the King) is killed and his child, Arthur, is rushed to safety and raised in ambiguity without realizing his true heritage. It’s only after pulling Excalibur from stone that he realizes his true calling. This latest iteration of the iconic character follows familiar beats but also makes several significant changes to the traditional legend, most of which prove enjoyable. I’m more than okay with Ritchie putting his own stamp on the tale – no need to show us what we’ve already seen before.
This movie depicts a grimy, dirty, gritty world in which Arthur resides, a world that is not kind to its inhabitants. Yet, even for all the pallor, the movie retains Ritchie’s signature style. These urchins have more hair product than you can ever imagine! I also found it amusing that the clothing appeared strangely modern considering the era of the movie. But you know what? Who cares? The movie looked good, the sets looked good, the costumes looked good, the actors and actresses looked good. I’m not going to get hung up on authenticity – Arthur is kickin’ too much ass for me to care!
With tons of action and lines firing out of the actors’ mouths like bullets, this movie moves very quickly and absolutely entertains. I relished that they made Arthur rakish without making him dark and brooding. He’ll punch you in the nose, to be sure, but he’ll grin while doing so. Make no mistake, he’s got the weight of the world on his shoulders and endures horrific hardships in this film, but you still see a charismatic, good man beneath the roguish exterior.
Ritche infused a bit of Peter Jackson’s sensibilities with his take on King Arthur. There is more of a fantasy element than you’d probably expect, and some of the battle scenes look like they could have been pulled out of Lord Of the Rings. However, unlike Jackson’s typical outings, Ritchie’s battles are far more intimate and willing to go smaller at times. For the most part, those battles are fluid and look great. But, there are a few moments in the film when it gets a little too “The Matrix” for my tastes. You’ll know it when you see it. Those scenes jolted me right out of the story.
I also didn’t care for the climatic one-on-one battle. I won’t spoil it, but we’ve seen it a thousand times in most super hero movies. I wish Ritchie had resisted the temptation to go that route while additionally forcing Hunnam to spout some awful lines (which have also been said a thousand times).
Even with all of that being said, I liked the movie. I don’t think it’s for everyone, but if you are a Guy Ritchie fan or a King Arthur fan, you will not be disappointed. I love that Ritchie is taking on so many English icons, and that he’s putting his own indelible touch upon such world renowned characters in his own inimitable fashion.
I’m very much looking forward to seeing this cast continue King Arthur’s story. They have a ton of story left to tell. If you know Arthurian legend well, they didn’t even skim the surface of his epic adventure. If future installments are as fast-paced and action-packed as this one while still retaining a sly sense of humor and stylish delivery, I’m all in.