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Movie Review: “Robin Hood”

There are many movies that are worth seeing, but there are a lot of stinkers as well. My goal here is to weed out the good from the bad.

Theatrical Release: 11/21/2018

Theatrical Release: 11/21/2018

Synopsis

Robin of Loxley (Taron Egerton) is a Lord of Nottingham. He lives alone in his mansion, but he has met a girl named Marian (Eve Hewson). Robin and Marian have fallen madly in love and they are hopeful for their future, but everything changes when Robin is drafted to join the English army during the crusades. Robin goes off to war, but when he comes back years later, he learns some shocking news. He learns that he has been presumed dead for over two years, he learns that Marian has moved on, and he learns that his mansion has been seized and left in ruins.

Robin has not returned to Nottingham alone, however. He is accompanied by an expert bowman, Little John (Jamie Foxx). Little John has become a mentor to Robin, and the two learn that Robin is not the only resident of Nottingham who has suffered from misfortune. In addition to seizing Robin’s property, the Sheriff of Nottingham (Ben Mendelsohn) has been severely taxing the people in order to pay for the war. Most of the population now lives in poverty, while the Sheriff and Lords live in luxury. Thus, Robin and Little John set themselves on a mission to restore balance by stealing the taxed money and giving it back to the people. Unfortunately, this will not be an easy task, because by taking the taxed money, they are also stealing from the church and crippling the war fund, which is not something that will go unnoticed.

Official Trailer

The Pros & Cons

All movies start with an average score of 75pts, points are then added or subtracted based on each Pro and Con. Each Pro or Con is designated points, ranging from 0-10, to convey how significant these Pros or Cons are.

The ProsThe Cons

Robin & John (+4pts)

The Hood & The Plot (-10pts)

The Action (+3pts)

Will & Marian (-4pts)

Ben Mendelsohn (+4pts)

The Costumes (-4pts)

movie-review-robin-hood

Pro: Robin & John (+4pts)

Despite my issues with Robin’s origin story, I enjoyed the relationship between Robin and Little John in this movie. Little John felt that he owed Robin a great deal, but on top of that, Little John saw an honorable man in Robin. Thus, he decided to teach Robin what he himself could do with a bow. The two had a typical dynamic, where Robin was the cocky young student, and Little John was the well-intentioned mentor who tried to keep Robin on a tight leash. We have seen these characters done before, but I liked the chemistry between the two actors anyway.

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Con: The Hood & The Plot (-10pts)

The movie started by immediately making me concerned with the direction the filmmakers would take this story in. During the first moments of the movie, a narrator told the audience to forget everything they thought they know about this character. The filmmakers immediately admitted that they set out to drastically change the character, and they wanted us to know it, rather than just show us how they changed the character and let us figure it out on our own. Then there was the change itself, which was to make Robin Hood a vigilante, pretty much exactly like the Green Arrow. It was as if the filmmakers were given this project while binging a bunch of seasons of Arrow, and they figured they would just do that. They even straight up called him “The Hood”.

They clearly made Robin a vigilante—more than a thief—as a cheap attempt to make a modernized action hero out of the character, but they did not add anything interesting to his story. He still stole from the rich and gave to the poor, but the character was otherwise pretty one-dimensional. Who Robin was at the beginning of the second act was exactly who he was throughout the rest of the movie. This made the plot boring, because the character did not have any development or growth. It was a poorly written character and a poorly written plot, and I thought it was a lazy attempt at modernizing this character.

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Pro: The Action (+3pts)

The action was decent. It was nothing special, but I was entertained while arrows were flying. I liked all of the archery, but it was the war-zone vibe that I liked the most. We saw Robin fighting as an archer for the English army in the crusades, which provided some cool scenes that I was not at all expecting when going into the movie.

We saw him in a unit of other archers in the middle of a chaotic war-zone, not unlike watching a war movie with a group of protagonists behind enemy lines. It was cool to see, and the later action sequences maintained this vibe. Both when Robin tried to rob the bank, and when he went to the mine, he was met by a ton of enemy soldiers, and he took them on using his bow and a whole lot of arrows. The vigilante storyline felt lazy, but the action it provided felt hectic, and while it was not amazing or memorable action, it was entertaining while it was happening.

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Con: Will & Marian (-4pts)

These characters were prime examples of the filmmakers trying desperately to set up a franchise. Marian was the love interest to Robin, sure, I had no problem with that. Will, however, was only in this movie to set up the next one—and based on how this movie did in the box office, I doubt the next one will ever happen. Marian and Will were a couple when Robin came back from war. This added tension to this story, but the amount of screentime and development that was given to Will made it seem like the filmmakers forgot where their priorities should have been, as Will got a lot more development than Robin did. Rather than focus on the main character’s story, the filmmakers spent a lot of time developing a side character that did not have much of a payoff in this movie, and establishing him as an important player in a sequel that will most likely never happen.

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Pro: Ben Mendelsohn (+4pts)

Ben Mendelsohn is a great actor, and while his character in this movie was severely one-dimensional, he did the best he could to make the character interesting. He was one of those characters who just wanted power and was evil for no good reason. He was not the sort of character who could be seen as good from a certain point-of-view. He was just bad. There was nothing more to the character, but Ben Mendelsohn made the movie so much more entertaining when he was on screen. You will know exactly where this character’s story is going, but Ben Mendelsohn was captivating nonetheless, and his intense performance will have you hooked to the screen while he is on it. There was a lot I did not like about this movie, but it was definitely better for having this talented actor playing the primary antagonist.

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Con: The Costumes (-4pts)

I had seen this complaint in a number of reviews, and I honestly thought it was ridiculous that people were mentioning the costumes as a reason for why they did not like this movie. I mean, come on, it is crazy to think something like that could matter that much, right? I have never seen a movie where costumes have been an important factor in determining my disliking of a movie, but after seeing Robin Hood, I can no longer say that. The costumes felt so out-of-place that it was visually jarring and it took me out of the movie multiple times.

The most blatant examples of this were Robin and the Sheriff of Nottingham. At times, Robin seemed to be wearing stylish dress shirts, and at other times, he was wearing very modern looking leather jackets. Then there was the Sheriff of Nottingham, who wore what looked like a high quality leather coat from a store like Macy’s. Most other characters were wearing period-appropriate costumes, but the Sheriff of Nottingham’s costume was so out-of-place that it continuously pulled me out of the movie. I do not care if filmmakers get their characters’ costumes are accurate to the exact year in which their movies take place. That being said characters‘ costumes should fit the general period of the story, and they should not distract the audience like they did in this movie.

Grading Scale

GradeCategoryPoints

A+

Amazing

95-100

A-

Great

90-94

B+

Good

85-89

B-

Decent

80-84

C+

Average

75-79

C-

Watchable

70-74

D+

Bad

65-69

D-

Terrible

60-64

F

Garbage

45-59

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Grade: D+ (68pts)

I was hoping this would be a good movie because I like Taron Egerton, Jamie Foxx, and Ben Mendelsohn, and I thought a modernized take on the role could be interesting. Unfortunately, the filmmakers were so concerned with giving this character an origin story and making him a vigilante, that they forgot to make the character interesting. He got almost no development, so he ended up being fairly one-dimensional. The same was true for the story’s antagonist.

Ben Mendelsohn added plenty of intensity to the role, but his character was written very poorly. I liked the dynamic between Robin and Little John, and I liked the action to an extent, but these things were not enough to save the movie. Unfortunately, there was not much more going for this movie, and there was a lot working against it. This was a movie that I wanted to be good, but I thought the filmmakers really dropped the ball with it.

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