So recently I got an opportunity to catch director Guy Ritchie’s King Arthur: Legend of the Sword which stars Charlie Hunnam as The Once and Future King. The film can best be summed up as Camelocked Stocked and Two Smoking Barrels.
After the murder of his father, young Arthur’s power-hungry uncle Vortigern seizes control of the crown. Robbed of his birthright, he grows up the hard way in the back alleys of the city, not knowing who he truly is. When fate leads him to pull the Excalibur sword from stone, Arthur embraces his true destiny to become a legendary fighter and leader.
20 minutes into the film and I immediately understood why the movie has tanked at the box office and why it was panned by critics.
While it would be easy to point fingers for the film’s failure, the truth is on paper this film is a sure bet: a Guy Ritchie re-imagining of the Legend of Camelot with an acclaimed director and very talented actor as the lead.
While a most skilled director and I even say this as a fan, Ritchie has a distinct style of directing and storytelling and for many, it’s an acquired taste. I’ve noticed that in his other films. That’s not to say this film is bad because in truth it’s not. As far as retellings of King Arthur goes, this is actually one of the more solid ones. It’s a fun gritty and nuanced flick but it won’t go over with your average mainstream theater attendees who are becoming fewer and fewer.
The film was also in development purgatory for six years which didn’t help. Perhaps a fall or winter release would’ve resulted in better dividends.
The cast gave solid performances and mad props specifically to Jude Law who definitely delivered as the film’s Big Bad.
Critics pointed out one of the film’s major drawbacks are the dearth of significant female characters. This is a fair and valid point. While this King Arthur gets kudos for its progressive stance on humanizing and portraying female sex workers in a positive light, they and the other women were only minor players save for Arthur’s Merlinesque mentor, Mage.
Far be it for me to complain about a movie having too many men in it. Especially when said men are played by very attractive male actors: Eric Bana, Jude Law, Aidan Gillen, Djimon Hounsou, Daniel Stisen, Michael McElhatton, David Beckham just to name a few.
Is it hot in here or is it just them?
Now by no means am I suggesting that this flick is homoerotic but the last time I watched a movie with (virtually) no women and that many hunks wearing leather and engaging in rough trade, it starred one Colby Keller.
But that’s none of your business.
With that being said, the film definitely could’ve done with some more shirtless Charlie Hunnam scenes.
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword is worthy of a DVD rental.
Final grade: B-/C+
Regardless of whether or not you see this film, pick up the soundtrack immediately. Daniel Pemberton’s music is nothing short of majestic.
See what I did there?