King Arthur: Legend of the Sword fits right in with many of the other flicks about this mythical ruler that have been released over the decades. Although it is different in more than a few ways from its predecessors, it’s similar to a lot of them in that it finds a way to be somewhat underwhelming. What makes this one disappointing is that most of the flaws that are included could have easily been avoided.
With Legend of the Sword, Guy Ritchie is sharing his unique take on the story of King Arthur (Charlie Hunnam). In this version, we see the mythical king start off with humble beginnings after betrayal and greed overtake the kingdom that he was born into. While growing up in streets away from his royal home, Arthur learns ways to survive on his own. However, what he comes to discover is all that he knows so far is nothing compared to what he’ll need to overtake the evil Vortigern (Jude Law) and reclaim the throne that is rightfully his.
In order for this to have found some kind of success, there needed to be some trimming done. They could have started by erasing some of the scenes that we have to see multiple times over the course of the movie. I’m talking about features like the flashbacks that show the same scenes over and over again throughout the movie. With these things, there’s no suspense since we pretty much already know what’s happening in these scenes so showing them so many times is pointless.
Another issue that prevents this from being at least watchable comes in the form of the scenes where our heroes are planning their moves. The problem that we have here is that this is also presented to us in the same way throughout the movie. While they’re planning, we also watch them executing that specific plan. This is okay to do once, but doing it at least three or four times is a bit much and once again makes everything repetitive and tiresome.
Along with the scenes where we are forced to hear Arthur speaking about not wanting any part of this rebellion, the scenes containing any exposition run cold and does damage to the cinematic experience of the audience. Everything I’ve mentioned in the last few paragraphs disrupts the pacing of King Arthur: Legend of the Sword. It would have been nice if Ritchie could have made sure that these scenes were improved so that the movie could have been allowed to settle down so that we could have found something to grasp onto as we prepare for the epic battle the we know is coming.
Because Ritchie failed to do this, we also have a hard time connecting to the characters. With the exception of Arthur and maybe one or two more, it’s legitimately possible that you will find yourself having a difficult time remembering which actor is playing which character. If you’re looking to get into what’s put on display, this can’t possibly help you. Then again, how it’s all handled actually benefits the man portraying the primary protagonist by hiding some of his flaws. Since he isn’t known for his range, this approach assists Charlie Hunnam since those types of acting skills aren’t really needed here. While that isn’t necessarily a good thing for him in terms of his career, it prevents him from being exposed too much this time around.
Although you can say it helps Hunnam to some degree, it hurts Jude Law since he’s a great actor in my opinion. Here he ends up being sorely underused anyway, but when he’s on-screen, he’s also a lot more bland than he should be when playing such an eccentric character. In a way, having him star as a villain who is more menacing and determined could have led the movie in a more positive path in spite of its issues. As we all know, films can sometimes benefit from these antagonists since the egomaniacal personalities can bring some depth to the experiences.
In being critical of cast and how they’re handled, I feel I have to speak about and the issues of casting Astrid Berges-Frisbey in her role. Many may not know who she is, but she’s given a ton of time in front of the camera here. Unfortunately, most of her time on-screen also requires her to speak. As you can see for yourself if you choose to see this, her inability to deliver lines is obvious and lacks any semblance of fluidity. I think this could be due to English not being her first language, but regardless of the reason, it’s terrible and troublesome.
The only thing that I can say that’s somewhat positive about this version of the King Arthur tale is that it had potential. It’s disappointing because there could have been some improvements made, but instead we get a something that may be considered lazy by some. When looking at most of the faults that hurt it, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword turns out to be nothing more than a failed practice in repetition. And that turns it into just another big budget movie that likely won’t be able to make its money back. And for Warner Bros., that should be more important than anything.
Director: Guy Ritchie
Film Length: 126 minutes
Release Date: May 12, 2017
Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures
- Score - 3.5/103.5/10