King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (2017) Review

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Summary: Robbed of his birthright, Arthur comes up the hard way in the back alleys of the city. But once he pulls the sword from the stone, he is forced to acknowledge his true legacy – whether he likes it or not.
This film premieres May 12, 2017. There might be minor spoilers… considering what you consider a spoiler.
Pros:
Cast and Characters. There are a lot of them actually, but I’m only going to mention a few.
  • Charlie Hunnam as Arthur. He grows up in a small village, his parents are killed before his eyes and he ends up growing up in a brothel. He ends up “running” the Brothel, not like a pimp but he seems like he’s the head of the house or something. He’s brash, he’s funny, he’s violent and seems to be someone who really gets into trouble. He does not scream “hero” and when he accidentally gets caught and gets sent to pull the sword from the stone, he does. His reaction to it was pretty great. He ends up meeting his uncle and it goes from there. Arthur doesn’t start off as an inspiring person but he has to grow into that and it takes a while, at least to get the “king” idea. But even then, Hunnam’s approach is different. I think Charlie is good in his role here, he’s likable, he’s funny and I have to say that he manages to stand out to the point where he doesn’t fade into the background and no one pushes him in the background.
  • Jude Law as Vortigern. He’s basically the Scar of the film, he’s jealous of his brother who is King, who has Excalibur. He makes choices in order to put himself in the role of king. He’s not really in the movie so much in that we get to send a lot of him to really get to know him. He’s a jealous dude, he’s power hungry and he’s desperate. I think Jude Law did so well with what he was given as this villain. When he’s on screen, you can’t help but to look at him, to see what expressions he would make. There are two emotional moments with him, they mirror each other but his reactions to them were fantastic.
  • Secondary Characters. There are a lot of secondary characters. No one really on Jude Law’s side really pulls focus outside of one henchmen but only because I recognized him from Kingsman. The actors mentioned below were great in their roles, they were funny, they had great chemistry with each other, there was some emotional moments.
    • Aidan Gillen as Bill. I love archers and he’s awesome.
    • Djimon Hounsou. He’s very magnetic, funny and I like his friendship with Bill.
    • Kingsley Ben-Adair as Wet-Stick. He’s one of Arthur’s friends, great chemistry in their trio, he’s funny, charismatic and I like his involvement.
    • Neil Maskell as Back Lack. He’s really funny, but it’s not over the top. He reminds me of Ricky Gervais physically. His relationship with Wet-Stick, Arthur was hilarious, he was loyal. He also has a great relationship with his son… it’s intense.
The Music. Daniel Pemberton does the music here and I think it’s great. It’s engaging, it fits the film, especially with how the film is handled. There’s some songs that are during fight scenes that has this breathy “he he” thing, oh man it was so cool. I think it was towards the end of the film. I enjoyed some of the overblown fight scenes because of the music. But the swells they had during scenes with no dialogue also helped.
The Humor. Surprisingly it’s funny. Charlie Hunnam should do movies like this movie often where he keeps his accent (I don’t watch Sons of Anarchy but I don’t think his American accent is very good), does action movies, where his character is surly and humorous. Arthur is funny and his interactions with other characters, especially his two friends was great. The other characters also have some great comedic moments.
The Action. So I don’t think there’s a LOT of action but the action we have is fun, it’s big, it’s fun and the way it’s shot, makes it look like a video game (this will also be in the cons). There’s a great scene in the last act of the film, where Arthur squares off with a villain (no spoilers) and it’s awesome. I quite enjoyed myself. There’s also some great chase scenes, some smaller contained fight scenes in alleyways of the village. It’s big and fun.
The Cinematography. I think it looked very nice. The film has this… kind of grey look to it. Like a gloss but it looks crisp and like everything is permanently being filmed near the sea. It’s pretty beautiful.
The Direction. I think Guy Ritchie definitely has a style, mostly when it comes to filming action (He’s directing the live action Aladdin film). If you watch his Sherlock Holmes films with RDJ, the way he shoots certain things, he has his niche. But anyway, he kind of has this thing where he slows things down, and does a camera spin around the action. There’s not really shaky cam but he does a slow motion spinning camera, especially in the last big fight. It’s pretty cool. There’s also a scene in the middle, where they’re running, being chased and it’s like the characters are holding the camera, it’s hilarious. I can see where it would be annoying for some viewers but I got a kick out of it.
The Possibilities. I actually think there were many other ways to go with this story and this film. King Arthur is a myth and it’s some great stories, BUT I think this film had many ways it could have gone. I will talk about this more, but I feel like it needed to be a pro because of the potential.
Cons:
The mage. So there’s this girl, played by Astrid Berges- Frisbey and I think she was miscast. I was so annoyed by her. She kept this same look on her face, she talked through her teeth, her lips stayed pursed like she was sucking on a lemon. Her involvement felt forced. Arthur and Merlin are normally a packaged deal so there needs to be some magical elemental person there… but she just wasn’t it. If it’s this character, then different actress. She should have been cool but she just wasn’t. I would have preferred Merlin (I want Elliot Knight to play Merlin since OUAT dropped the ball with killing him on that show).
The Villain. I think it’s important to note that Jude Law was great in his role and he did what he could, BUT I don’t think he was that interesting a villain. He should have been though. His motivations are clear but getting to know him as a man, especially considering how long the movie is, we’re not supposed to root for him but I can’t say he was memorable. I literally only remember two scenes he was in and it’s because they were emotional and Law ate those up. But outside of that, so forgettable.
Bit Convoluted. There’s a lot going on here. It almost could set up a franchise in that they could continue the story considering how many parts of King Arthur there are. However, there’s a lot being set up, you have the legend of the sword, you have the background with the mages and magic, there is setting up Arthur’s awesomeness, of the knights, I even feel like there was a little bit of Robin Hood-esque stuff in there… there’s just so much that I think it gets unfocused.
The Possibilities. Like I said before, there were so many ways to go with this story and I think it was a nice way to go about it, with the origin story. I can’t think of a King Arthur story that is an origin story outside of Disney’s Sword in the Stone, especially where he’s kind of a jerk… HOWEVER, I think there were a lot of missed opportunities. I think going the origin story, reminded me of Simba’s story in The Lion King among many others and I think they could have shaken it up.
Too Long. It’s 2 hours and 6 minutes and it’s just too long. A lot of those minutes feels like lagging space, blank space and it just dragged on. It could have been a good 20 minutes shorter especially without those moments being filled with good stuff.
The Magic Stuff. So like with the mage, there needs to be some type of magical element considering how he’s chosen to be King. But I don’t know if Guy Ritchie knows how to handle it without it being underwhelming. This film requires a lot of mythos and mysticalness but I don’t think it was handled well. It should be interesting and it wasn’t. It wasn’t explained or shown the way it should have been.
 The Direction. This is here because I think a lot of people may not like how the action is shot. I mentioned the camera shots of them running with the camera in their faces, that may be annoying. It may come off as shaky cam which is annoying so that would be a hit. I also think with how the fight scenes are shot, mostly the bigger ones, it looks like obvious CGI. I even went “Well hello there CGI” because it’s so obvious. Remember the million Smiths vs Neo scene in Matrix Reloaded? Yep, a little better but yep.
Overall, I liked this movie, I was actually surprised at how fun it is. There are some good characters and I think the actors are fine, I mean no one really “owns” their role, except Jude Law, but they do their thing. I think the action is cool, the way it’s shot and the cinematography is really cool. The music is energetic and helps the action. On the other hand, I think it’s 20 minutes too long, there are some empty spaces that lag, it’s a bit convoluted and the directional choices may annoy some of the viewers. But overall, it’s really fun.
Rating: 3.36 out of 5 stars.
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword premieres May 12, 2017.
Let me know when you see it, tell me your thoughts below. Do you agree? Disagree?
I hope you liked this review, like, comment and follow for more!
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