Over the last day or so I don’t think I’ve seen a review of King Arthur: Legend of the Sword which didn’t give it anything higher than two stars. Heading into this I was worried…
The movie opens strong, with some pretty impressive visuals. We’re in Camelot, the last place you’d expect to see a bunch of giant elephants trashing the place. But there they are, in all their glory. Knights burn, castle walls fall. Similarities to Lord of the Rings are clear, but this just seems so much more detailed and on a much grander scale. And Katie McGrath is in it too! But sadly, not for long…
We also see a young Arthur. As death and destruction rage all around him, he drifts off in a boat, eventually finding his way to Londinium where he’s found and taken in by some prostitutes.
What follows is the first in a series of quick fire scenes which, throughout the rest of the movie, do their very best to frustrate the hell out of you, as we quickly follow Arthur on his path to becoming a full on grown up geezer.
Meanwhile, Arthurs uncle (Jude Law) is on a mission to find Arthur in an effort to prevent him from taking the throne from him. He’s testing all men throughout the land to see who can pull the sword from the stone, and when Arthur takes his turn, well you know what happens…
Arthur isn’t keen to accept his destiny though and we seem to spend just a bit too long throughout the movie, even at points when he seems to have definitely accepted his birthright, watching him in turmoil – recalling the moments when his parents were killed.
When we’re not a) being subjected to a seemingly constant barrage of rapid cuts and jerky camera movements, interspersed with the occasional piece of slo-mo action, or b) being shown a scene which quickly cuts between the past, future and present as it tells its story, there’s plenty to enjoy. This is clearly Guy Ritchie at work, but his signature style soon becomes annoying and just doesn’t sit well with this movie.
Charlie Hunman is likeable and convincing as Arthur. Everyone else, especially Jude Law, not so much.
As mentioned earlier, so much of this movie is beautiful to look at, when we’re actually allowed to look at it for more than a second at a time, and I absolutely loved the soundtrack. Apparently this is the first in a planned series of King Arthur movies, and while I’m up for that in theory, I think that Ritchie needs to either reign it in a bit or step away altogether.
And who the hell thought it would be a good idea to include David Beckham in this?!