King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

This film was never going to be amazing. I knew that. I’m sure most people did. But the trailers were edited fairly well, had some Led Zeppelin chucked in to make it look cool and it looked like it might be quite an enjoyable affair. But when it comes to the finished film, the editing isn’t as great, there’s no Zeppelin and it’s not as enjoyable as I first hoped.

The story follows Arthur, who has grown up in a brothel after his uncle, Vortigern, killed his father, Uther, king of Britain. Now, when the magical sword Excalibur reveals itself, Arthur must claim his father’s sword and take back the throne as the born king. It sounds fairly exciting doesn’t it? But what it boils down to is an overblown origin movie. There’s some good parts, some bad parts and a lot of very middling parts. The acting is, for the most part, okay. Charlie Hunnam is good as Arthur, Jude Law is a bit melodramatic as Vortigern and the rest of the cast is also okay. It’s weird to see typical London geezers running about in the medieval times, using common slang and acting all hard.

The main problems with this film really is that it’s a whole lot of nothing. There’s not much consequence to anything. Just give us a King Arthur story, not the set up for one. And there’s not really any payoff to the setup either. The final action sequences feel kind of rushed and anticlimactic. In fact, not many of the action sequences really stand out at all. It’s largely forgettable. That’s not to say it isn’t enjoyable at all. There’s some stuff to enjoy here. There’s a couple of laughs, even if most of the jokes fall flat. There’s some cool action beats and shots that look good, even if it’s hard to remember them. One thing you will remember is David Beckham. The award for the worst cameo ever should definitely go to him. He’s literally on screen for a minute and he’s the worst actor I’ve ever seen. Not only is it bad, it takes you out of the movie too! Nothing against you Becks, just don’t quit the day job…

This film is on track to lose quite a bit of money at the box office, and with a $175 million budget it’s not hard to see why! This film should have been made for half of that cost. They could have made a typical Guy Rithcie, gritty and down to earth movie for less and it might have not only been better, but might have made some profit too! There’s too much special effects nonsense. Yes, seeing some giant war elephants is cool. But some of it just isn’t needed at all. Cut out the terrible magic, ugly beasts and weird other effects and that’d save you loads of money. There’s one action sequence where Arthur takes out a bunch of soldiers and it’s filmed as though it is one take, but clearly Hunnam is entirely CGI the entire time. If it is real, then great. It doesn’t look it though and it just makes the sequence hard to watch and it loses some of that wow factor.

Guy Ritchie’s usual style is on show here too. There’s camera angles you wouldn’t usually see in an action movie, crazy editing, fast paced dialogue and, as he seems more wont to do nowadays, lots of talking about something either as it happens, as it is shown or as it literally just happened two minutes before. It keeps the pace up a little, but does get kind of annoying sometimes when half of the film is described a minute in the past. And if that description didn’t make sense, then neither does what I’m describing.

Look. It’s not all bad. I didn’t hate or dislike the film at all. It’s enjoyable. Maybe not worth going to see, and I won’t get those two hours back, but it’s fun enough to kill those hours. It sadly looks like we won’t be getting that six film series we were promised, but then again, after this, would we want it? I’d watch another King Arthur film. But I won’t hold my breath for it. This movie is fine. But you can’t build a franchise off of ‘fine’.



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