King Arthur: Legend of the Sword: Review

Written by: Don Cabuhat

Film | May 19, 2017

Charlie Hunnam film review Guy Ritchie King Arthur Legend of the Sword

Guy Ritchie did what he does best: Making things cool and sleek. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword is a two-hour high-voltage entertainment flick.

I didn't expect this one to be good. Granted, the film did come from the man who directed the very underrated The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and the two Sherlock Holmes films, but the trailers for this movie didn't really inspire confidence.

So it was a pleasant surprise that the film was pretty entertaining. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword is a fast-paced, fantasy action flick that ticks quite a few of the boxes required of a good summer blockbuster.

The movie manages to create an immersive world that strikes a nice balance between fantastical elements and a more grounded tone. I didn't even know that the film was going to incorporate magic; especially since fantasy epics haven't been doing well as of late. The movie doesn't shy away from the mythology of the source material and manages to turn it into one of the factors that makes the film good.

The highlights of the movie were its unique visual style and presentation. If you're a fan of Guy Ritchie's films then this would come as no surprise to you, as his signature mix of fast cuts and slow-mos are on full display. It's funny that numerous quick cuts are usually a sign of a poorly designed action sequence, but in the hands of Guy Ritchie, they work to the film's advantage.

Granted, the action set pieces weren't perfect. Some of them were messy and confusing but since it was all to service the unique visual style of the movie, I was able to live with it.

The final fight scene perfectly encapsulates how entertaining the movie is even with its flaws. It was fun and impressive with a perfect blend of fast cuts and slow motion sequences. Sure, it felt confusing at times, but in the end it was something visually stunning and immersive.

The plot itself is nothing special. The movie does provide an interesting take on the story of King Arthur, but nothing groundbreaking elevated it from every other adaptation we've seen before. The story focuses on Arthur's journey from an orphan living in a brothel, to unexpectedly removing Excalibur from the stone, to his acceptance as king. It was, to put it simply, an acceptable origin story.

The characters in the movie were all boring. There were nice character moments here and there that made me smile and laugh a few times, but I literally can't remember any noteworthy performances from any actor.

What drew me in was the world-building aspect of the film. The mythology and the fantastical elements were very interesting. From the Lady of the Lake to the history of the mages, the movie incorporated magic and wonder into a dark world in a very effective manner.

I loved how they executed the Excalibur myth in such a way that it was not only perfect for the world they created, but also provided a new and interesting spin on a something that has been interpreted over a million times. I loved those creepy sisters below the castle who embraced the idea of monsters and magic in a world of knights and castles.

I do wish they focused more on the fantasy elements, though. Associating these elements with characters instead of having them be separate, unrelated subjects would have made the movie more compelling.

Look, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword isn't a great movie.  Odds are you won't remember anything about it once you get home from the movie theater. But it's still an undeniably fun two-hour summer film that lets you unwind and shut your brain off for a while.

About the author: Don Cabuhat

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