I’ve lost track of just how many adaptations of the King Arthur legend there have been. Some hew close the the source material. Some are this movie.
Following a betrayal and uprising that leaves him orphaned, Arthur Pendragon (Charlie Hunnam) is raised in a Londinium brothel, unaware of his lineage or destiny. Of course, destinies are hard things to avoid, so the now grown street savvy hustler is about to find that the whole kingdom’s fate rests on him.
I’m no Arthurian lore expert, but I can guarantee you that not much in this film is accurate to the stories surrounding the legendary king. A few key points – like his name and the sword drawn from the stone – are there, but not much more. That doesn’t mean this isn’t one heck of an entertaining flick.
Director Guy Ritchie‘s whiz bang style is unmistakably present, giving this classic tale a frenetic and exciting modern makeover. If you like what he did to the worlds greatest detective in the recent Sherlock films, you’ll find something to like here. This is a fast paced fantasy caper film that just so happens to be loosely based on a literary legend. Like the new version of Holmes, this Arthur is a fast talking hustler who likes to engage in bouts of fisticuffs.
Magic, action, giant beasts (including some ROUS’s), slick visuals and even slicker characters, swordplay, good vs. evil, and more – this film really has it all, other than much respect for the source material. But you know what? I’m ok with it. Granted there were a few confusing moments and plot holes that are trundled over, but this is exactly the type of original high fantasy adventure movie this generation was missing. Too bad it needed to glom onto the Arthur name in order to be a thing instead of just being its own thing to begin with. Or perhaps it could have been based an a more generic property, like Dungeons and Dragons
I’m continually surprised to see just how far certain boundaries of the PG-13 rating can get pushed, and this movie is no exception – I never felt like it was held back by restrictions – it was the movie I’m pretty sure Guy Ritchie wanted it to be, with plenty of disturbing and humorous moments throughout.
Once I accepted the film for what it was, and not a “real” King Arthur tale, it was smooth sailing. It’s not like the tale has been held sacred until now – I seem to recall a Saturday morning art on where Arthur and his knights were time traveling high school football players, and the upcoming Transformers flick involves Camelot apparently – it just feels like an afterthought. Like the movie was written and afterwards someone was like “hey, King Arthur is popular and public domain – can we change a few names and things around here?”
Bottom line, if you like rollicking high fantasy and the style of Robert Downey Jr.s Sherlock Holmes, you can’t really go wrong with this. It’s the film Warcraft wishes it could have been.
Mrs. Hamster did not screen this film
Brother Hamster did not screen this film
My rating: Three out of five hats
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword mystifies 3,702 theaters May 12