King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (2017) Review

Time: 126 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1]
Contains violence and offensive language
Cast:
Charlie Hunnam as King Arthur
Àstrid Bergès-Frisbey as The Mage
Djimon Hounsou as Sir Bedivere
Aidan Gillen as Sir William “Goosefat Bill”
Jude Law as Vortigern
Eric Bana as Uther Pendragon
Director: Guy Ritchie

After the murder of his father, young Arthur’s power-hungry uncle Vortigern (Jude Law) 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 (Charlie Hunnam) embraces his true destiny to become a legendary fighter and leader.

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I wasn’t sure if I was looking forward to King Arthur. It has a great cast, and most importantly is directed by Guy Ritchie, a filmmaker I like quite a bit due to his unique and fast paced style. But nothing much about the movie really interested me from the trailers, it looked like an okay-ish fantasy movie. I know that a lot of people really didn’t like King Arthur (it’s the first box office bomb of 2017) but I was glad I decided to see it. The acting was good, the way the story was told was effective but Ritchie’s great direction really was the standout. It won’t be known as one of the all time greatest fantasy movies but it is still a good one.

Now this story is very familiar and very much like a typical fantasy story (minus the direction and interpretation by Ritchie), but it’s not the same King Arthur story that you’re used to seeing. Don’t go into it expecting the usual representations of King Arthur. I was just going in expecting a fantasy movie by Guy Ritchie with the main character titled Arthur and I was very entertained and invested throughout. This story is full on magic and fantasy, and it was entertaining to see how this movie approached it. This film does overall move at a pretty fast pace and it didn’t ever bore me. As Guy Ritchie wrote this movie, he does have a particular style and I really liked it. The dialogue was entertained and the humour was well implemented in the movie.

Charlie Hunnam is great here as Arthur, very likable, entertaining and believable. I haven’t seen him in much (just Pacific Rim and Crimson Peak) but this is his most entertaining performance yet. Definitely the strongest character in the whole movie. Jude Law plays and a very hateable villain and did a very good job at it, fully embracing his role. This movie has a wide range of talented actors with Djimon Hounsou, Astrid Berges-Frisbey, Eric Bana, Aidan Gillen and many others. All of them are used pretty effectively and share great chemistry with each other, their characters weren’t quite as 3 dimensional as they could’ve been but they were still very enjoyable to watch. The only actors who were a little out of place were Katie McGrath (as she’s on screen for a total of only 1 minute) and a random cameo of David Beckham (I have no idea why he was here), especially as he appears in such a pivotal scene for Arthur.

As great the acting and story is, the stand out part of this movie is of course Guy Ritchie’s direction. This is the most Guy Ritchie that a Guy Ritchie film has been since Snatch. I was worried about how his style would be used here but I found it did work, its so unlike a King Arthur movie to have and Ritchie fully embraced that style and so I enjoyed it a lot. The fast paced editing is used really well. At times it does move a little too fast so it is easy to miss some of the details but that goes for most Guy Ritchie movies. If you don’t like his style, you probably won’t like King Arthur. I know some people really didn’t like that his style was used in a King Arthur movie, but I liked that, not just because I like the style, but it gave something new to a King Arthur story, it’s not just a typical fantasy story that we’ve seen so many times. At times it does sort of tonally feel inconsistent, one moment might be very comedic and have one of the Guy Ritchie montages, and in the next moment might be a fantasy action sequence or a very serious dramatic scene. Most of the CGI is used really effectively and made for some really entertaining action sequences. A standout is the soundtrack by Daniel Pemberton, it could be grand and epic but it could also fit perfectly with Ritchie’s wacky style and montages.

King Arthur is not a perfect movie but I do think that it’s worth a watch, nowhere near deserves the hate its getting or being a box office bomb. With the actors, the entertaining story but most of all, Guy Ritchie’s direction, I was consistently entertained by this movie. I honestly recommend going out and seeing King Arthur, give it a chance (as long as you know what you’re going in for). If you aren’t a big fan of Guy Ritchie’s style however, you probably won’t be a fan.

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