Hello Everyone, Janet W. here…
Forget every film about the story of King Arthur, because King Arthur: The Legend of the Sword has nearly nothing to do with them. Uther Pendragon (Eric Bana, Yum!) is still Arthur’s father and Igraine (Poppy Delevingne) is his mother, but there is an uncle thrown into the mix, Vortigern (Jude Law). I cannot recall the character in medieval tale (and I took a course on King Arthur in college). Anyway, Law played him pretty well. I will not give it away, but I do not think I have seen Law like this ever. Mordred is a sorcerer instead of the Arthur’s son from Morgaine Le Fay? Yes, this is King Arthur told in a novel method.
King Arthur: The Legend of the Sword begins with our hero, Arthur (Charlie Hunnam), at a young age. Strap into your seats from there, because a speedy, musically super-charged montage will take you screaming from adolescence to manhood in what should have been a blink of an eye. Like most things in this film, this carried on too long. Although I applaud Guy Ritchie, the director, and Joby Harold, screenwriter, for his unique take on this iconic legend, the overuse of CGI (oversized animals, reptiles, etc.) and quick cuts are so jarring and constantly pulls the viewer out of the narrative.
People go to an action film to see…ACTION. Often during the film, the fight scenes were rushed and special effects sandstorm or large monsters masked the fight choreography, so if Arthur was a god-like fighter, you couldn’t see his moves. The attempt at humor is weak throughout. Perhaps 3-4 good laughs in the span of the two hour and six minute film. Dialogue was delivered in comedic manner, but timing was off and the jokes just really were not that funny. The sound design overpowered the narrative often as well. The balance was just not present.
Hunnam was hot (his sexy British accent was unleashed), so that was reason enough to sit through the film. Essentially he was wily Jax Teller as King Arthur. I first saw Hunnam in Nicholas Nickleby, he was handsome and I loved to hear him speak, but it wasn’t until Pacific Rim that my interest was peaked (Yes, I really enjoyed him in that one). I’ve watched him briefly on the TV Show, Undeclared, and another film called Deadfall (also with Eric Bana), which were not memorable. Hunnam has untapped potential that peaked out from the shadows during the Sons of Anarchy series, but I am waiting for a film role that breaks him out.
A quick word about Bana, for he is seriously underused as well. Bana has done action, drama, and sci-fi. Come one Hollywood, use the gems you have. Bana was great in Black Hawk Down, Finding Nemo, Hulk, Troy, Munich, The Other Boleyn Girl (oh was he good as King Henry VIII), and Star Trek. As Uther Pendragon, Bana wheeled intense dominance similar to his performance as Hector in Troy. Law, as I have said above, does a good job. His films The Talented Mr. Ripley, Alfie, and my favorite, Repo Men, show his versatility and now King Arthur: Legend of the Sword adds to his acting repertoire.
Overall, I did not enjoy this film. Multiple cinematic blunders poor sound mixing, lack luster dialogue and delivery, and a ridiculous abundance of CGI constantly interrupted the story. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword seems rushed and thrown together like a freshman cramming for their first final exam. The best part of this film was Hunnam’s wisecracking, playful insults.
INSANE ACTION, BUT DISAPPOINTING
Janet L. White
Your friendly straightforward neighborhood critic