King Arthur: Legend of the Sword SPOILER-FREE Review
I have not really been on board with King Arthur: Legend of the Sword. The trailers never really grabbed me. They just looked kind of plain and ordinary. Nothing stood out about it. I never really planned on actually seeing it until our other writer, Rob, went to an advanced screening. He wasn't praising it or anything like that, but he said it was pretty decent. Then the reviews came out, and critics who I've come to really agree with were on the positive end of the movie's 27% on Rotten Tomatoes. So I decided, what the hell? I'll go see King Arthur. I went in relatively excited. I wasn't expecting it to be the next The Lord of the Rings or anything like that, but I was hoping to just enjoy myself for two hours with a disposable movie. And the film is that to an extent. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword has some fun moments and cool scenes, but the story that connects it all is incredibly flimsy, and the film overall is not enough of a guilty pleasure to be overly enjoyable.
After pulling the sword from the stone, Arthur (Charlie Hunnam) must learn how to use it in order to defeat his power-hungry uncle (Jude Law), who remains in control of Arthur's rightful throne.
This movie is decent. It's not great, but it's not terrible either. I definitely don't think it's deserving of a 27%, but I can see why many critics would give it a rotten review. In terms of the movie's positives, I thought Charlie Hunnam was great as King Arthur. He brought a new element to the character, making Arthur more sarcastic and sassy. I thought this worked really well, and made this version of King Arthur really interesting. I also thought Jude Law was good as the villain. I don't think he was given as much screen time and development as he deserved, but every time Law was on screen he was great. There were also supporting performances from Djimon Hounsou and Eric Bana, which I thought were good. They didn't add a ton to the movie, but I thought they were serviceable in their roles. I also thought the costume design was excellent. All of the regular clothing and the armor looked great, and it really added to the movie. The production design was also really goo... for the most part. Things that were done with practical sets looked great, but some of the CGI design wasn't the best. Ultimately, I do think the movie's greatest strengths were its main performances and it's design.
With King Arthur, I think there are great individual scenes. These scenes have great acting, good dialogue, fun action, and strong direction by Guy Ritchie. So whenever I was watching these specific scenes, I was really into it. However, it's the larger story that connects these scenes that was flimsy and weak. Take for example scenes of Arthur using Excalibur. Those were great sequences, and I really enjoyed them. But a scene afterwards of pointless exposition or just a dull conversation halted the momentum built by the previous scene. This made it hard to get into the movie. I would be really engaged with one great scene, and the next would have me looking around the theater bored. This is also a heavy visual effects movie, and I thought a lot of the CGI was iffy. Some things were just so blatantly fake looking that it took me out of the movie. Then there were other times I wish they used more CGI. They established that this is a world of magic, and yet all we ever see as characters are humans. It would have spiced up the movie a bit had we gotten to see some really interesting creatures. And when we do get creatures, they're only large versions of regular animals. Seriously, this movie has the biggest elephants, snakes, wolves, and bats you have ever seen. Like, there is big... and then there's King Arthur big. But with all the magic in this world, seeing a centaur or some sort of mythical creature to change it up would have been beneficial. It wouldn't have run contrary to the story, as magic plays a big part in it.
Overall, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword is not a train wreck in any sense of the word, but it's not a great movie either. It's incredibly forgettable. I saw it yesterday, and I would have really struggled to write this review today if I hadn't taken notes right after I saw it. It's one of those movies that you won't remember a thing about it three weeks after you see it. It does have some good things going for it, however. Charlie Hunnam and Jude Law were really good in their roles. There was also really strong costume and production design. And while there are great individual scenes, the story connecting them all was really weak. It made it hard to get into the movie. The CGI at points was also not the best, as well as some of the designs of the visual effects. I also wish that they had used some other creatures, instead of just humans. The movie establishes magic from the beginning, but only ever shows us giant versions of regular animals. If there were more mythical creatures, then I think it would have changed up the movie a bit in order to help keep it interesting. In the end, I think King Arthur is a good movie to check out on a rainy day on Netflix. However, I don't think it holds much value outside of that.
What do you think? Have you seen King Arthur: Legend of the Sword? Did you like the film? Leave your (spoiler-free) thoughts in the comments section below.
Written by: Nate
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