Movie Review: King Arthur
The Above the Line team had already decided to go see King Arthur: Legend of the Sword this weekend before the critics started chiming in, but what we didn’t plan on was seeing it twice. The tale of King Arthur has been extolled through literature and film for some time, and if I’m being honest, it’s one of my favorite medieval tales. There have been many adaptations and interpretations through the years, but this is one of the most fantasy based I’ve seen. It is very clearly directed by Guy Ritchie, and it stars Charlie Hunnam as Arthur, Jude Law as King Vortigen, and a variety of other stars in supporting roles.
Guy Ritchie manages to begin the tale with the threat of dark magic taking over Camelot and Uther, Arthur’s father, played by Eric Bana seemingly defeating this powerful threat. However, Arthur’s Uncle Vortigen makes a move for the throne, which leaves Arthur floating away in a boat after his parent’s deaths. Time passes with a spectacular montage showing Arthur’s upbringing in a brothel where he learned how to fight, pickpocket, and ultimately, build up his coffers. Whenever an incident with some Vikings occur and the sword of Excalibur finally reveals itself, though, Arthur finds himself facing his true identity and what that entails. He is unable to handle the power of the sword, and Vortigen prepares to have Arthur killed so that Excalibur would finally fall to him. After begin rescued, Arthur is drawn into Sir Bedivere’s group of resisters, and with the help of the mage sent by Merlin, he begins to learn how to harness the power of the sword. As time continues, Arthur comes to grip with the fact that he must be the one to defeat Vortigen and stop the evil he is unleashing.
As I mentioned earlier, this adaptation is far more magical than any other interpretation of the tale of King Arthur, but I was perfectly fine with it seeing as it was integral to the story. I also thought Ritchie’s style lent itself to this story quite well. The witty banter, the sharp montages, and slow motion fight sequences all made this version of King Arthur enjoyable to watch. I think some aspects could have been explored more if the film had been a little longer, but sharp edits are synonymous with Guy Ritchie. Mostly, though, this film lived up to its subtitle, Legend of the Sword. Excalibur, the famous sword forged by Merlin, is the star of the show and the item of power that Vortigen desperately wants.
Overall, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword was an entertaining, action-packed movie. Sure, there were some themes about the danger of power, but mostly, it was just a lot of fun. Jude Law was again fantastic as the villain, and I think Charlie Hunnam gave the best performance I’ve seen from him so far. I also love all the hints to the original tale that come along the way with the round table and some of the familiar names of beloved characters. It won’t be the hit of the summer by any means, but if you enjoy Guy Ritchie’s directorial style and love a good fantasy/action film, then it’s worth the watch.