King Arthur: Legend of the Sword is the newest, and most unique, telling of the story of King Arthur and his mystical sword Excalibur. After Arthur is robbed of his birthright, he is raised in a brothel in the back-alley streets of Londinium. However, after pulling the magical sword, Excalibur, from the stone, he is forced to acknowledge his legacy and take is rightful place as the true King of England.
This is by far the most different, and supernatural, telling of the famous story of Arthur’s rise to becoming a King. Directed by Guy Richie (Snatch, Sherlock Holmes), the film feels nearly like a superhero origin story. Arthur (Charlie Hunnam) grows up a nobody, but through unforeseen and unfortunate circumstances gains immeasurable power in wielding the sword, Excalibur. He must then use this power to overthrow the evil false King, Vortigern (Jude Law). How does this not sound like a superhero film?
And in good superhero movie fashion there are lots of big CGI set pieces and lots of over-the-top violence and action. This is not a complete nock against the movie, most of the CGI looks excellent. Seeing large monsters amidst huge battles and being visually convinced that those monsters were really there is actually impressive. However, not all the CGI is this way – a few scenes in the middle of the film, as well as the last throw down, are visually nowhere near as good as the rest of the movie and it really makes these sequences stand out as being very “video-gamey”.
The actors will defiantly not be receiving Oscars this year for their performances, however I have to admit they were not as bad as I had anticipated. Jude Law puts in his average perforce, as well as most of the rest of the cast. Charlie Hunnam actually stands out amidst the group as having given the strongest performance as the very conflict Arthur.
It is due to this acting, and very well written characters, that King Arthur: Legend of the Sword works as well as it does. When the film focuses on the bonds forged between Arthur and his future knights the movie shines. The most enjoyable moments, in fact, are when the characters banter back and forth in a style very reminiscent of Guy Richie’s Snatch.
Where the film does not shine is in the pacing and editing (how many times have I had to say that this year?). The film makers had three ways to cut this movie and two of them would have really worked: make is super short by cutting action scenes out and focus on characters, make is super long and drag out the action sequences in a Lord of the Rings style of storytelling, or do what they did and mix option one and two together – forming the giant mess laid out before us.
The entire second act of the movie could have taken an extra 45 minutes to tell, and the movie would have benefited from it. I believe that’s how Richie intended the movie to play out because there are two sequences that normally would take an entire arc to tell, but are shown in a quick montage fashion. Proving that filming these scenes actually happened, but were viciously cut up and pasted together to form a smaller condensed product.
Also, as a side note, whoever oversaw the score and sound track needs to be fired and never work in film making again. The music in this movie is almost entirely garbage. Calling it music doesn’t seem quite right though, it is more reminiscent of metal trash bens falling down a flight of stairs for over two hours.
With all of that said, I must admit I did leave the theater thinking King Arthur: Legend of the Sword was okay. It is nowhere near my favorite movie to come out so far, and I highly doubt it makes it into my top 20 film once the year is all said and done. However, the action set pieces most times were impressive to watch, and I did like seeing these characters interact with each other. While some of the CGI was rough at times, the pacing seemed to be managed by a 10-year-old, and the “music” was absolute garbage, I did manage to somehow enjoy the film overall – thanks to Guy Ritchie’s style of directing action scenes and character dialogue.
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword is a 3/5.
Have you seen King Arthur: Legend of the Sword? What did you think? What is your favorite Guy Ritchie film? Leave a comment below, we can make a discussion out of it.