King Arthur: Legend Of The Sword (2017) Review: A Story Best Left Untold
Guy Ritchie seems to be a director who is his own worst enemy. His style no doubt marks him as one of the most distinctive directors alive, and his ability to frame dialogue like a well-crafted action sequence, is nothing short of mesmerizing. The 2009 ‘Sherlock Holmes’ was taken as a sign that his filmmaking could be translated onto any property, however recently the English director has not been so fortunate. ‘The Man from U.N.C.L.E’ had all the telltale Ritchie quirks, but instead of an overall enjoyable picture, the film was decent with a few bright spots.
Sorry to say his latest picture is even worse than that, as ‘King Arthur: Legend of the Sword’ brings the summer movie season to a screeching halt. After the promising start of ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2’, this film serves as a harsh reminder of the worst a blockbuster can be. Director Guy Ritchie of ‘Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels’ fame is at the helm of this retelling of the classic story. It follows Charlie Hunnam as Arthur, as he grapples with the responsibility of wielding the mighty Excalibur, the sword he pulled from stone.
On the face of it, ‘King Arthur: Legend of the Sword’ should be easier to watch than it is. The film takes Guy Ritchie’s frenetic style and captivating dialogue, and mixes it with the stunning visuals and atmosphere of ‘Game of Thrones’ or ‘Lord of the Rings’. Rather than being a match made in heaven, the film is a mess. Never before has a film felt so chaotic. The over reliance on quick cuts and slow motion effects make following the movie’s plot a downright chore.
If you do manage to follow along with the film’s narrative, your reward will be a horrible truth. The truth that underneath the stylized filmmaking and slick presentation lies a film as generic as they come. Even the strong cast can’t save this film. Hunnam’s Arthur is easy enough to follow, but the trouble comes with the character of Vortigern, played by Jude Law. Law plays the role with as much subtlety as a sledgehammer. Then again, with the dialogue he’s given to work with, not much else could’ve been expected.
But is it any fun? Plenty of movies have all the bad elements that make up King Arthur, but they’re still enjoyable enough. Sadly, the movie takes so few risks that it ends up feeling sanitized. It doesn’t have the air of weirdness that might propel it to being so bad it’s good. It’s just a bad film. Utterly boring in some moments, as you’re fed the same hero’s journey that gets blasted on the silver screen every year. With nothing new or original distinguishing this from any other sword and shield epic, you’re better off watching the surreal and truly memorable ‘Excalibur’. Yes, this movie is bested by one that is 36 years old.
For a film intended to be the first in a series of 6, ‘King Arthur: Legend of the Sword’ is an alarmingly bad start. If this is the rock which a franchise is to be built on, it shall indeed crumble. At times, Ritchie shows the signs of what could have been, with a handful of scenes showcasing his abilities at their best. When a movie is this bad, it’s hard to recommend it. Viewers should skip this one and read a book instead.
Rating: Read A Book