REVIEW — “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword”
If this becomes a franchise and not The Man From U.N.C.L.E. I will riot
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword is directed by Guy Ritchie and written by Guy Ritchie, Lionel Wigram, and Joby Harold. It stars Charlie Hunnam, Àstrid Bergès-Frisbey, Djimon Hounsou, Aidan Gillen, Jude Law, Eric Bana, Mikael Persbrandt, Lorraine Bruce and Hermione Corfield and tells the classic story of Arthur, who is robbed of his birthright and 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. I was surprisingly excited for King Arthur: Legend of the Sword for a number of reasons. I loved Guy Ritchie’s last project The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and they had assembled themselves a pretty stellar cast so I went into this with a very open mind. Did I like it? Ehhh. While it is interesting to see Ritchie tackle on a very different type of project and there are moments of fun, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword is an ultimately disappointing and disjointed movie with nothing making it remarkable or memorable.
Guy Ritchie is directing here and I’ve always been a big fan of him. I consider Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch to be classics and I’ve really enjoyed his more recent films like Sherlock Holmes and The Man From U.N.C.L.E. both Sherlock Holmes so it’s safe to say I trust him as a director. How does he do as a director? Well, it’s hard to say. This is definitely directed by Guy Ritchie at times but at others, not so much. There are scenes feel like they were pulled directly from Snatch, but at times its just feels like nothing. Nothing here feels very remarkable and besides a few scenes, the whole could have done by a second unit. For a director as stylized as Ritchie I was very shocked to see how uninspired this was. I don’t if he had total control of this project because at times It’s great, but at others, it’s very mediocre. Almost all the action scenes are great, but that’s pretty much it. While I am disappointed, I still need The Man From U.N.C.L.E. 2.
The screenplay is written by Guy Ritchie, Lionel Wigram, and Joby Harold and they do alright. I was impressed with how much world building they do and you really get a sense of the scale of the world you’re watching. Some of the scenes dialogue are so fast it’s hard to keep up but again it works. They were able to successfully meld Ritchie’s style with this time period but other than that, the script it very sloppy. There are so many sequences where they just speed through character progression so we don’t get to actually see the characters grow and change, we’re just told they have. The dialogue at times is clunky and Jude Law feels like he is in a completely different movie. While the script is not horrid, it really could have used another draft or even a re-write.
One thing I cannot deny King Arthur: Legend of the Sword is the cast is great. Charlie Hunnam stars here and with this and The Lost City Of Z he has proved himself as a leading man. His voice sounds hollow at times but other than that he was great. Jude Law, while he feels out of place, was superb. He probably gives the best performance here and is great as always. Other than the two leads, no one else really stands out. Eric Bana is good for the short time he is featured and Arthur’s gang was fun to watch. Àstrid Bergès-Frisbey was a bit over the top at times but other than that small complaint there aren’t many problems with the cast. It’s disappointing to see all the potential go to waste because they had everything they needed to make a kick-ass movie, they just didn’t, and I can’t tell you how disappointing that is.
One a technical level, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword is passable. At times the CGI is really good but at times it’s really rough. Whenever he “goes Excalibur” it really looks like a video-game and it really pulled me out of the experience. The editing is very choppy and sometimes jarringly so. The score is unmemorable but the cinematography is actually very good. There is a lot of really beautiful scenery showcased and Charlie Hunnam is easy to look at. Jokes aside, everything is passable. If you’ve noticed I’ve used the phrase “At Times” a lot in the review and that is very intention. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword is the definition of a mixed bag. A lot of really great stuff and a lot of really bad stuff. While there is stuff to love here, there’s a lot to hate. I wish this was better than it was.
So in short, While I found some enjoyment out of King Arthur: Legend Of The Sword it’s too sloppy and inconsistent to warrant re-watching. 1.5/5