Plot: After his parents are killed, a young boy destined to be king narrowly escapes a similar fate. Once he is of age, after years of finding his own way and a familiar sword in the stone incident, he comes to the realization that he must return to take back the kingdom that is rightfully his.
Review: I am a huge fan of the King Arthur mythology. There have been many movies that have tackled the story, but only few worth mentioning(The Sword in the Stone, Monty Python and the Holy Grail). Although I am a fan of director Guy Ritchie, I did not have high expectations walking into King Arthur: Legend of the Sword. I thought it would end up being mediocre at best. Although far from perfect – the movie turned out to be a fun, summer action movie!
The movie is of course your typical origin story. We learn that Arthur’s father, King Uther(Eric Bana), was betrayed and killed by his brother Vortigern(Jude Law). He wanted to take Uther’s place as King. That story has been told for generations from Hamlet, all the way to The Lion King. Arthur is then raised in a brothel never knowing his lineage. As he gets older, he lives the life of a street hustler – while not knowing his rightful place as King. Once Arthur pulls Excalibur(the magical sword once belonging to his father) out of the stone, he learns the truth and his destiny. He has a hard time accepting his fate at first, but with the help of his friends, they decide to bring the fight to his uncle and to take back the crown that is rightfully his.
First thing is first, Charlie Hunnam is a great King Arthur. Of course he has the look, but he brings out the charming, charismatic side of the young King as well. I’m not the biggest Sons of Anarchy fan, but I hear he was great in that series as well. In my opinion, it is him and Jude Law who steal the show. Law as Vortigern was damn near perfect. Law has history with director Guy Ritchie(he played Watson in the Sherlock Holmes series), so it’s no surprise for them to collaborate again. I’ve always enjoyed movies where Law is the bad guy, but at times throughout this movie – he goes beyond that and is just plain evil. We also get decent to good performances by the rest of the cast, including Eric Bana as Arthur’s father, the Mage played by Astrid Bergès-Frisbey, and Djimon Hounsou as Sir Bedivere.
We do get your usual Guy Ritchie trademarks(fast to slow-mo action cuts, quick jump cut sequences during a story being told, dark/cold tone). I am very happy to see it work well with the story of King Arthur. The CGI looked great, especially with the animals, but during the ending – the bad guy looked more like a character out of a video game. Some people may not agree, but I loved the scenes when Arthur went crazy with Excalibur. Two things I wish we had more of – extra scenes with Merlin, and for a Lancelot appearance. Hopefully Lancelot can show up in the sequels. Also, I think the movie could have been a little shorter as well.
Overall, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword is a decent, fun summer movie. It most likely won’t be the best summer movie of the year, but it gets the job done. It did everything it had to do. It pulled me in, and has me excited for the future of the franchise. I give King Arthur: Legend of the Sword a solid 7/10.