The Dose: Guy Ritchie’s ‘King Arthur’ is a mixed bag

The Dose: Guy Ritchie’s ‘King Arthur’ is a mixed bag

The Dose: Guy Ritchie’s ‘King Arthur’ is a mixed bag
May 29
18:41 2017

The latest directorial effort from Guy Ritchie (“Sherlock Holmes,” “Snatch,” “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.”) has been a very divisive experience between critics and moviegoers as of recently. As for me, I’m siding with the moviegoers this time, as this film may be fun, thrilling and exciting. However, there are some things that hold it back from it achieving greatness akin to the legend itself.

So, what exactly is “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword”? Is it a contemporary medieval action flick with some of Ritchie’s signature rapid-fire editing and morally ambiguous people throwing banter at each other? Or is it an old-school “Lord of the Rings”/”Game of Thrones”-esque fantasy giving new life to the King Arthur lore for the new generation? The movie tries to be both, with a little bit of success depending on what you’re looking for going into the film.

First off, the film has spectacular production value. The film’s extravagant budget really shows from the set pieces of the various castles that tower the kingdoms to the slums of Londinium, as each shot of the film is layered with magnificent style. The film’s fantastical elements are given great detail, from the massive war elephants to various spells the mages conjure up.

Charlie Hunnam really personifies the reinvented Arthur, growing up in a brothel and becoming more of an enforcer for those that did not pay for their services. Hunnam excels at being a calculating brute throughout and the moments of him resenting the call of Excalibur were very well acted and show the weight that’s brought onto him so quickly in his life. Jude Law plays the evil king of the film and it’s clear he’s having a blast in the role, eating up the scenery whenever he’s on camera. The supporting cast is also there, but no one is too memorable.

The one thing that stands out the most is Daniel Pemberton’s score for the film, whose minimalist percussion-heavy rock ‘n’ roll-like beats bring a more modern feel without taking you out of Arthurian England.

Ritchie’s previous films are known for their montages with rapid editing and snappy banter whilst the montages are happening and at times, it suits the movie really well. Other times, it just seems that there should have been an extra scene or two to help flesh out the moment of Arthur’s awakening just a little bit more. The plot stutters on the transition from the second to third act as Arthur goes from reluctant hero to a warrior-king fighting alongside his people, but it wasn’t too drastic.

The main downfall of “Legend of the Sword” is that it really doesn’t know what kind of movie it wants to be. The inconsistent tonal shifts, particularly a few in the beginning of the film, were very jarring and almost unintentionally humorous at times. The film could be suffering from what “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” had, with extensive edits made to meet a theatrical runtime or studio interference right before the movie’s release. Regardless, there definitely seems to be an hour missing in the film that could make it more complete.

Overall, it’s a very disjointed movie but it’s still a fun ride regardless. If anything, it’s worth a watch for the style and special effects alone for all the fantasy and action fans out there. Definitely catch it on matinee or at a discount bin though.

Featured Image: Charlie Hunnam is the latest actor to take on the mantle of Arthurian legend in “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword.” Warner Bros. Pictures.

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Michael Vu

Michael Vu

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