In these troubled times, would we even recognize a hero if one walked among us? Such is the premise of “The One True.” Part social commentary, part magical realism, this is a story that will resonate deeply. Listen at Podbean, Amazon Music, or by clicking the player below. You can also read it in my short story collection called Happy, Sad, Funny, Mad.
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.
(Did you enjoy this review? Check out Scott William Foley’s short stories HERE!)
Being a regular kind of dude, I have to admit I’m not a frequent (or even infrequent) consumer of The New Yorker. However, last week I read several notices and received a few emails informing me that The New Yorker had published an article focusing on two of my favorite literary subjects: Michael Chabon and superheroes.
Of course, Michael Chabon wrote the article about superheroes, so that made it all the more enticing. Before I could read it online, a friend loaned me the magazine. I don’t know which I found more impressive: the fact he thought enough of me to go out of his way to loan me his copy of The New Yorker, or the fact someone living in Central Illinois subscribed to The New Yorker.
Nonetheless, as I waited to meet my wife at a local restaurant, I finally took the time to read Chabon’s cerebral article titled “Secret Skin: An Essay in Unitard Theory.”
This is an essay about adults’ misunderstanding of superheroes and the significance they have on the imaginations of children. Or, this essay is about how superheroes’ choice of clothing often reveals the very secrets they go to great pains to hide. No? Okay, this article is about the beauty of the human form, and how the greatest superheroes have the simplest costumes and thus reveal humanity’s potential for greatness. That doesn’t work for you, either, huh? Let’s try … this article is about the fact that a superhero’s costume can never truly be replicated in real life because it is more than just a unitard, it is the essence of all that hero symbolizes and such ideology cannot be sewn.
All right … I admit it. I don’t know exactly what this article was about. I’m not even sure if Chabon knew his “thesis statement.” He does, however, manage to churn out a fascinating read that, while difficult to follow, brings forth several interesting points about superheroes, their choice of clothing, and the plight of humanity.
Hey, Chabon is a winner of the Pulitzer Prize, his book called The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay is a love letter to the world of comic books, and he’s an admitted fan of the genre. The guy can write whatever he wants however he wants as far as I’m concerned.
I’m glad he chose this topic and I’m glad The New Yorker published it. Superheroes (in one form or another) have always been a part of the social conscience, and it’s high time everyone admitted to that. Whether it be Heracles, King Arthur, or Superman, stories of those with great power fighting for others have always been magnetic to mankind.
And who hasn’t wondered about those tights? Seriously, underwear over leggings? What’s up with that?
If you’d like to read Chabon’s article, high diction and all, hit the link at: