Movie Review: King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (2017)

A modern take on a classic tale, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword is a 2017 action/fantasy film directed by Guy Ritchie. Arthur (Charlie Hunnam), is the son of Uther Pendragon (Eric Bana), and the rightful heir to the throne of Britain, until Vortigen (Jude Law), Uther’s brother orchestrates a coup to take over. THe secret heir Arthur bands together with his ragtag bunch of would-be knights, including Bill Wilson (Aiden Gillen), Sir Bedivere (Djimon Honsou) and Wet Stick (Kingley Ben-Adir), as they attempt to overthrow the despot King and reclaim Arthur’s birthright.

+ like most movies I seem to watch lately, none of the acting was bad, but none was particularly good either. The casting, however, was great, with names such as Jude Law, Eric Bana and Djimon Honsou all holding their own in the ensemble. Law was perhaps the biggest standout, but simply because I can only think of a handful of movies he has been the bad guy in
+ classic “Guy Ritchie” dialogue, much like the back and forth banter in Rock N Rolla or Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, though this is only for the first third of the movie – that playful conversation is not really relevant when people are being massacred en masse around you
+ I really liked the costumes, and how they were medieval versions of modern-day clothing. For example, Vortigan’s royal garb looks very similar to an expensive modern suit, a symbol of power if ever there was one, giving him almost a “crime-boss” look, which seems only fitting
+ I found myself really enjoying the musical score, it had almost a ‘heavy metal’ vibe to it, with lots of toe-tapping bass beats

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He’s no Travis Fimmel, but Charlie Hunnam can pull of that dirty-sexy look well enough.

– the opening scene, of Mordred laying siege to Camelot, was incredible, and the rest of the film never managed to build back up to that level. The displays of magic and the architecture of Camelot castle gave me such high hopes for the movie, but it was all down hill after those first five-ten minutes
– at times, the CGI is absolutely horrid. It looked like a PS2 game cutscene, and not a good one at that. I was reminded a few times of that awkward scene in The Matrix: Reloaded, where Neo fights the Agent Smith clones
– damn this is a long movie. I usually don’t have any issues with long movies when it comes to medieval or sword-and-sandal epics, but this went for 126 minutes and I felt every minute of it

> Aiden Gillen’s character, Bill Wilson, shares a name with another of Gillen’s character, that of the CIA Agent in The Dark Knight Rises. Gillen is a good actor (see Game of Thrones, obviously, and the criminally underrated Maze Runner series) but every time I hear his voice I can’t help but laugh and just never take him seriously

Should you see this film: No. As mentioned, the first five or so minutes gave me such high hopes that once this movie got going it never managed to live up to. It lacks the humour of A Knight’s Tale or Ritchie’s other Rock N Rolla, it lacks the flashy action of something like Spartacus and it lacks the political intrigue of Game of Thrones: give this a miss, and watch any of those instead.

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