"King Arthur: Legend of the Sword": Movie Review

Updated on May 15, 2017
popcollin profile image

Collin's been a movie critic since 2009. In real life he works in marketing and is also a novelist ("Good Riddance" published in Oct 2015).

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword | Source

Director Guy Ritchie arrived on the scene with a literal bang almost twenty years ago, following up 1998’s now-classic Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels with the even-better Snatch in 2000. Blending his distinctive jump-cut, fast-paced style with ultra-violence and some of moviedom’s more colorful characters, Ritchie established himself as a unique voice.

There were a few hiccups in subsequent years (Swept Away, Revolver), but he got back on track with Robert Downey Jr. and the two Sherlock Holmes flicks, and now he’s giving Medieval times a try with King Arthur: Legend of the Sword.

As we all know, a colon in the title can only mean one thing—the launch (or continuation) of a movie franchise. Ritchie (who also co-wrote the screenplay with Lionel Wigram and Joby Harold) chose to kick things off with an origin story, ostensibly to set up a long and enduring series of Arthur movies. Had Legend actually been anything more than the wasted effort it is, he might have been onto something. Instead we’re left to watch a lot of needless wheel-spinning just to get us to the next chapter, which now likely (if the cinema gods are smiling on us) will never come.

Charlie Hunnam stars as young Arthur, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Before we get there, we’re given a messy extended prologue that sets everything up; and, yes, that means we’re getting a set up of a set up. Arthur’s father Uther (Eric Bana) is betrayed by his brother Vortigern (Jude Law), who stages a coup, forcing Uther to ship baby Arthur down the river Moses-style.

Unaware of his lineage Arthur grows up in Londinium, learning how to fight and be an all-around rabble-rouser. Meanwhile Vortigern has begun the hunt for Uther’s heir, knowing the young man will surely prove his undoing. He makes every able-bodied and appropriately-aged man attempt to pull the fabled sword from the stone, which Arthur, of course, does.

Vortigern promptly locks him up, but instead of just killing Arthur on the spot, the king makes a grand spectacle of it, naturally giving Arthur’s allies plenty of time to stage a rescue. Arthur, of course, escapes and then sets out to remove Vortigern from power and try to take his own rightful place as king. Spoiler alert: look at the title.

The problem here is not with Ritchie’s direction; his fans will find stuff to like, including several of his trademarked quick-cut backstory monologues. The battle scenes are choreographed well, and the visual effects are pretty darn nifty throughout. Unfortunately the script is so poorly put together that its shortcomings infect everything else around it. Much of it is either incoherent, sluggish, or both. The story does little other than meander along; clearly Ritchie and his co-writers were confident Legend would only be the first chapter in a franchise of awesome.

Given the finished product, though, the legend stops here. There may once have been a fleeting wisp of glory called Camelot, but we’ll have to (gladly) be content hearing the rest of the tale from someone else.

Rating

1.5/5 stars

Worth the 3D glasses?

If you have to sit through it, or if you're an overly allegiant Ritchie fan, then yes, spring for the snazzy glasses. There's more than enough going on visually to warrant the extra few bucks.

'King Arthur: Legend of the Sword' trailer

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, reelrundown.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://reelrundown.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)