King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
Film Review by Kam Williams
Anything Goes in Guy Ritchie’s Fanciful Reimagining of Classic Medieval Fable
Do you remember what happened to the Sherlock Holmes franchise in Guy Ritchie’s hands? The low-key, cerbral sleuth who solved mysteries with his intellect suddenly morphed into a flamboyant, two-fisted superhero as likely to rely on brawn as brains to solve a case.
Well brace yourself for a similar transformation with King Arthur: Legend of the Sword. Again, Ritchie makes a concession to the attention-deficit demographic in crafting a fanciful reimagining of the beloved epic that plays out more like a frenetic, action-packed video game than a classic medieval tale.
Nonetheless, the good news is that the movie works, if all you’re looking for is to be entertained by an overblown summer blockbuster with an A-rating when it comes to state-of-the-art special f/x. And the characters even sport familiar names, from King Arthur (Charlie Hunnam) to Lady Guinevere (Astrid Berges-Frisbey) to Merlin the Magician (Kamil Lemieszewski). But I still defy anyone to make sense of this hyperactive adventure which abandons the British folklore upon which it’s ostensibly based in deference to a cinematic mandate for incessant stimulation.
The picture’s rudimentary plot unfolds as follows. At the point of departure, King Uther (Eric Bana) is assassinated at the behest of his power-hungry brother, Vortigern (Jude Law). Instead of ascending to the thrown, Arthur grows up a lowly street urchin, utterly oblivious of his royal bloodline until the moment, years later, he manages to pull the magical sword Excalibur out of a stone.
Cognizant of his rendezvous with destiny, with the help of a big bird, an archer (Aidan Gillen), a black knight (Djimon Hounsou) and psychic Guinevere, Arthur embarks on an epic quest to reclaim his birthright. And what an eye-popping spectacle it proves to be!
Guy, I like what you’ve done with the legend!
Very Good (3 stars)
Rated PG-13 for violence, action, suggestive content and brief profanity
Running time: 126 minutes
Distributor: Warner Brothers Pictures
To see a trailer for King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, visit: