Review: King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (2017)

I need to start this off by saying that I love Guy Ritchie films. Lock, Stock and two Smoking Barrels, in my opinion, is a Cinematic masterpiece that I could watch over and aver again and never get tired of. It’s edgy cut scenes, flashbacks, colorful characters and witty dialogue make it a staple in my movie collection. Unfortunately, all of the things that usually make a Guy Ritchie movie great are all the things that didn’t work in King Arthur: Legend of the Sword.

The story takes place, as the name of the movie would suggest, within the King Arthur Mythos. Charlie Hunnam (of Sons Of Anarchy fame) plays Arthur, who in this story is sent away on a boat as a child to avoid his murderous Uncle Vortigern played by Jude Law. Vortigern succeds in murdering Arthur’s Parents and claims the throne of his Brother, Arthur’s Father, Uther (played by Eric Bana). The boat drifts for an undisclosed amount of time, finally landing young Arthur in the hands of a group of prostitutes who take him in and raise him in a brothel.

In the first of many Guy Ritchie-esque montages, we get a quick look of Arthur growing into a man in the brothel. The quick scenes include him learning how to hustle, getting beaten up by other kids on the street, beating up john’s when they get too violent with the ladies and hording away the gold he collects for some purpose that I wish would have been explained but never was. This quick Montage also introduces us to George (Tom Wu), who teaches him a thing or two about fighting.

Now that we’ve watched Arthur grow up we return back to see what Uncle Vortigern has been up to all this time. It seems that the sea has magically pulled back, uncovering Excalibur, which was lost before Vortigetn could take possession of it from Uther. Unfortunately, as the story goes, it is buried to the hilt in a stone and only the true King can remove it. This leads Vortigern to round up all of the Men of appropriate age in the Kingdom to see who can remove the sword. The plan, of course, is to kill whoever manages to free it.

Bringing us Back to Arthur who has had a run in with some vikings that were under the Kings protection. Arthur finds this out in a scene which is probably the Guy Ritchiest (is that a word?) scene in the entire movie. Arthur recounts the story between real time and flashbacks and also manages to introduce us to his cohorts, Wet Stick (Ben-Adir Kingsley) and Back Lack (Neil Maskell). Arthur doesn’t seem worried about the King or his guards until they come for him in the night. As he is making his get away he runs into another set of guards that realize he hasn’t had his turn at pulling the sword from the stone. Arthur is whisked away to have his turn. We all know where the story goes from here.

After successfully releasing the sword from the stone Arthur is taken into custody and thrown in a dungeon where he finally gets to come face to face with his murderous Uncle. After a brief dialogue he is taken to be presented in front of the kingdom to claim his place as king or be beheaded if he does not. Of course he is told if he does try to claim his place as king, his Uncle will kill everyone he loves. Luckily, he is rescued by his friends, with the help of a mysterious Mage and a giant falcon.

This leads into a series of scenes with Arthur and the rest of the group going back and forth with an “I don’t want this. But it’s your destiny” argument that I feel went on a little too long, including a montage of Arthur fighting giant rats and wolves in a dark forest to further prove himself worthy of the task he doesn’t want. Finally, Arthur gives in and accepts his destiny after he is shown what will become of the kingdom if he refuses.

Bringing us to the climax of the film, in which Arthur and his friends storm the castle (with a little help from a giant snake) and fight to win back the throne. Vortigern however, has one last trick up his sleeve and makes a deal with some dark powers to become once again, the death faced monster that killed Arthur’s parents. A final battle ensues between Arthur and his Uncle which played out very much like a final boss battle in a video game, in which Arthur comes out victorious and everyone lives Happily ever after.

There were good things in this movie. It had a great supporting cast including Djimon Hounsou (Gladiator, Blood Diamond) and Aiden Gillen (Game Of Thrones) but they were severely under used. Visually, it was amazing. The sets, cinematography and special effects were first rate. I almost wish they would have titled this movie something else. The story was so far removed from the King Arthur story that it wouldn’t have made any difference.

If you are looking for an action movie with a little magic worked in and a few laughs along the way, this is it. If you’re a King Arthur buff looking for story accuracy, this movie is really going to make you mad.

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