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King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

It’s time for another movie review presented by our good friends over at FatCats Gilbert on the southwest corner of Greenfield and Baseline! FatCats Gilbert is the best place to see all of the latest movies! I didn’t know what I was missing before my first trip to FatCats Gilbert. Now when I watch movies in anything other than a recliner, I don’t feel like I’m doing it right.

This is probably the biggest movie of the summer! This movie is supposed to be the one to break all of the box office records! Well, to be honest, I’m not really sure who was asking for a King Arthur summer blockbuster. If you were one of those people who couldn’t wait for this, I couldn’t be happier for you, but I don’t think there were many out there. Guy Ritchie’s name was also attached to this which also wasn’t something that pumped me up. He’s coming off The Man from U.N.C.L.E., which I actually liked, but I feel like that’s where Guy Ritchie is at home as compared to with a King Arthur movie or with a live action Aladdin movie. Let’s talk about King Arthur: Legend of the Sword!

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword is directed by Guy Ritchie and stars Charlie Hunnam, Jude Law, and Eric Bana. Arthur, played by Hunnam, has not inherited the throne the way he was supposed to, and he has found life in the poorer parts of Londinium. He finally pulls Excalibur from the stone, revealing that he is meant to be royalty. He leads a charge against the brutal leader Vortigern, played by Law, to take his rightful place as King.

I thought that this movie was going to be awful without a doubt. I absolutely love the Disney classic The Sword and the Stone, but it’s not like I was dying to dive deeper into this mythology in a live action summer blockbuster. I’m happy to say that I liked it more than I thought I would. It’s far from perfect, or even great, but I enjoyed certain aspects of it. First of all, Charlie Hunnam has actually blown me away in 2017. First we had The Lost City of Z, which I really liked, and I thought he was excellent in that movie. Now instead of a smaller, more intimate character piece we are getting him in an action-fantasy blockbuster character piece, and I thought he killed it again. His delivery actually works well with Guy Ritchie’s style, and he’s charismatic enough for us to get behind him as a character and be invested in his story. I also thought that Jude Law and Eric Bana were very good, and their performances matched the dramatics of the mythology and the story. That brings us to the next thing that I found enjoyable, and that was the magic and mythos. I didn’t expect quite as much magic in this film as I ended up seeing, but I think it worked for the story and for the characters. I also think there are some great action sequences that are entertaining enough to have some fun with this. There are certain aspects of a King Arthur movie that you can, and frankly should, expect to be awesome. I wanted to see great mythology that was at least somewhat true to what I knew, I wanted great fight scenes, and I wanted chills when Arthur ripped Excalibur from the stone. I think that Ritchie handles the mythology well at certain points. Some of the action scenes are fun when the magic is interjected, and the scene where Arthur pulls Excalibur from the stone is pretty exciting because you actually get to see all of the magic and history rush into Arthur’s body as he decides both if he wants to and if he’s ready to take on Vortigern.

Funny enough, I think that Guy Ritchie is one of the main reasons that this movie didn’t completely work for me. If you’ve seen Ritchie’s other films, you’ll be able to pick up on his style right away. It’s a very dialogue heavy, edit-heavy, fast-paced style, and it doesn’t quite fit this classic tale. When I picture a fantasy setting, I imagine it taking place thousands of years ago, so Ritchie’s modern style is very jarring and makes the film feel very uneven. I can see a lot of people walking out feeling like some of what they saw was visually appealing, but they might be wondering what they saw. The quick-cutting style of Ritchie’s films also messes with some of the character development. I didn’t quite care about a few of the side characters because there’s a relentless pattern of cutting to the character, the character makes a joke, cut to a different character. I laughed here and there, but when all I get from a character is a joke, then we cut away from the character, I lose sight of what makes them valuable to the story. I think there are too many times where the film goes heavy on the jokes as compared to focusing on being a singular narrative.

Overall, I didn’t think that King Arthur: Legend of the Sword was a terrible movie, but it’s also not that great. It split me right down the middle. I think that Charlie Hunnam is great in the lead role, and I loved him as Arthur. I’m not looking forward to sequels, but if we get them then I’m glad Charlie Hunnam is front and center. I had some fun with this movie, and a lot of it was due to the mythology itself. I think introducing as much magic as was introduced worked well for the story, and gave Arthur depth. It also made the fight scenes much more visceral and put more on the line for characters involved in fights. I do think that the film is very uneven due to the way the mythology is presented. Guy Ritchie has a very modern take on this story, but it belongs in a medieval time period. When characters, setting, production design, mythology, and world build are all suited for medieval times, it feels really jarring to bring a modern, quick-cutting visual style to this world. I’m going to give King Arthur: Legend of the Sword a 5/10.

Will you be checking out King Arthur: Legend of the Sword? Comment down in the comment section and let me know! As always, thank you, and keep listening to 88.7 The Pulse!

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Justin Lyons

Hey, it's Justin Lyons! I am the Chief Film Critic for The Pulse. Have any questions for me? Please feel free to email me at movies@pulseradio.fm