Dan's Review: "King Arthur; Legend of the Sword" is good for a little fun
May 11, 2017 03:48PM
● By Dan Metcalf
Charlie Hunnam in King Arthur: Legend of the Sword - © 2017 Warner Bros.
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (Warner Bros.)
Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence and action, some suggestive content and brief strong language.
Starring Charlie Hunnam, Àstrid Bergès-Frisbey, Djimon Hounsou, Aidan Gillen, Jude Law, Eric Bana, Mikael Persbrandt, Lorraine Bruce, Hermione Corfield, Annabelle Wallis, Poppy Delevingne, Kingsley Ben-Adir, Neil Maskell, Millie Brady, David Beckham, Michael McElhatton, Kamil Lemieszewski.
Written by Guy Ritchie, Lionel Wigram, Joby Harold and David Dobkin.
Directed by Guy Ritchie.
There are dozens of films about the Arthurian (King Arthur) Legend. The Knights of the Round Table just can’t keep from the big screen for more than a few years. From animated features like The Sword and the Stone and the 1967 adaptation of the Broadway hit Camelot, there’s always room for one more at the round table. This year, it’s King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, directed by Guy Ritchie.
The story is basically the same familiar one, about a boy who grows up a pauper and is destined to rule England as King Arthur. This tale comes with a unique back story involving a war between humankind and “mages” (magickind). After King Uther Pendragon (Eric Bana) defeats the evil sorcerer Mordred using the magical Excalibur sword, Uther’s brother Vortigern (Jude Law) summons an evil group of magical naked squid ladies to give him power over the sword, so he can kill the king and assume the throne. In his haste to kill Uther, the king’s young son Arthur escapes down a river and is found by a group of prostitutes who raise him to adulthood. Arthur (Charlie Hunnam) learns how to fight and draw on his natural leadership abilities to gain a little power among the street people, until he is captured by King Vortigern’s men and bought to Camelot, where he (like all other young men of his age) is to be tested to see if he is the Uther’s heir. Upon his death, Uther became stone, with Excalibur stuck through his statue-form (another twist on the “sword in the stone”). Only the rightful heir can pull the sword from the stone, and Arthur succeeds, but he is immediately imprisoned by Vortigern and sentenced to death. He is rescued during the execution ceremony by the magic of mage Guinevere (Àstrid Bergès-Frisbey) and Uther loyalists, including Sir Bedivere (Djimon Hounsou), “Goosefat” Bill (Aidan Gillen) and others. Arthur resists Guinevere’s attempts to use Excalibur’s power to see the past and wield it as a weapon, reunites with his old street gang in an attempt to outsmart the king’s men instead. Arthur must eventually decide between his life as a thug and his destiny as a king, leading to a great confrontation with Vortigern.
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword is a lot of fun, drawing upon Guy Ritchie’s talent for weaving several rapid-fire elements into an interesting pace of action. Hunnam is perfect for Ritchie’s style as the reluctant king with a lot of street cred (think: soccer hooligans in the king’s court) .
Yet, at the heart of the movie lies conundrum (of sorts) between the idea of going the full “Peter Jackson” and making it into an all-out epic – and one of those quirky crime capers Ritchie is famous for (Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Snatch, RocknRolla, Sherlock Holmes, etc.).
There’s also the trouble of the well-trodden Arthurian story, leaving little doubt of the predictable outcome.
Either way, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword may not be the perfect re-telling of the Arthurian legend, but it’s good enough to keep your interest.
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Trailer