“King Arthur: Legend of the Sword” stars Charlie Hunnam, Àstrid Bergès-Frisbey, Djimon Hounsou, Aidan Gillen, Jude Law, and Eric Bana. Releasing on May 12, 2017, the film is about a young man who must fulfill his destiny when he pulls the sword Excalibur from the stone.
The film is directed by Guy Ritchie, who also directed films such as Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Snatch, RocknRolla, and Sherlock Holmes, and it is loosely based on Arthurian legends. The tales that involve King Arthur and the Knights of the Roundtable have been told for many decades, especially through theatre, film, and other types of media. Sure, most of the film versions weren’t exactly that great, but I always find it interesting to see how these tales were told from a certain filmmaker’s point of view, with this film being one of those examples. This year brings us a couple of movies that involve the great king: the Guy Ritchie version that I’m reviewing now and the upcoming sci-fi sequel, Transformers: The Last Knight. In case you’re wondering, before this film, I have seen a couple of films that introduced me to this type of legend, such as The Sword in the Stone and Quest for Camelot. Now that I saw the latest version of the man who pulled the mighty Excalibur from the stone a few days before its release, does it do the legend justice?
If you’ve been following Guy Ritchie’s filmography, then you’ll easily notice his type of filmmaking: stylistic and, at some occasions, swift. At first, I was a bit concerned at how his filmmaking style will fit into this story. Then I realized that the way this film is stylized is how Ritchie tells his own legend of King Arthur, and honestly, it was pretty impressive, but not without its share of flaws. The cast delivered some decent performances, including Hunnam as the title character and Law as the film’s antagonist, Vortigern. Bergès-Frisbey plays the latest version of Guinevere, who is one of Arthur’s allies. Compared to the other actors in the film, her acting sounded a bit bland. I’m not sure if she’s supposed to act like that or if she overslept before shooting. The film has plenty of stylistic visuals that were executed very well and, despite some shaky camerawork, a couple of entertaining action sequences. Also, and I’m just throwing it out there, the music that was provided for the film was a bit odd in terms of its setting. I wouldn’t say that it’s bad, but I would say that it’s different, in a good way. Unfortunately, those things weren’t enough to overcome its “style over substance” problem. If you’re familiar with the King Arthur legend, you’ll probably know how it’s going to turn out in the end, but the journey towards that moment kept me interested thanks to its pacing and a couple of funny moments. It does have a few generic hero-facing-destiny cliches that we have seen a bunch of times, which might turn off some people who were looking for something completely different, and the characters weren’t that strong enough to consider themselves memorable.
Overall, Guy Ritchie’s stylistic take on the Arthurian legend has plenty of visual flair to go around, but in terms of the film’s story, it somehow got overshadowed by the majestic powers of Excalibur. “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword” is pretty entertaining for what it is due to Ritchie’s filmmaking style and its fun action sequences. If the filmmakers happen to make some sort of franchise out of this film, I actually wouldn’t mind seeing what they’re going to do next. If you’re looking for a perfect King Arthur experience, then you might want to look elsewhere because this film is not that kind of experience. However, if you like the legends of King Arthur and don’t care whether the film versions are good or not, then I think this film should please you.