Director: Guy Ritchie
Cast: Charlie Hunnam, Àstrid Bergès-Frisbey, Djimon Hounsou, Aidan Gillen, Jude Law, Eric Bana
Age Restriction: 13 H V
Runtime: 126 minutes
Release date: 12 May 2017
One of the best things about director Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes films is how it incorporates a modern vibe without feeling contemporary; while staying true to the source material.
So, it was only fitting that film studio, Warner Bros, recruited the talented filmmaker to bring the classic King Arthur tale to the big screen for a modern audience. Can the director accomplish the same feat with another property?
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword follows the titular hero (played by Charlie Hunnam) who is raised by a group of harlots after his parents are betrayed by his uncle, Vortigern (Jude Law) – who claims his brother's throne, taking away Arthur's birthright.
Years later, Arthur discovers his lineage when he unsuspectingly pulls his father's sword, Excalibur from the stone. Vortigern – now the king – sends his forces after the titular hero who decides to fight back in return.
(Credit: Warner Bros.)
Eagerly awaited fans became concerned when the film studio delayed the Arthur feature from its original 2016 release date. Was the delay to improve the visual effects or worse yet, restructure the film?
It seems the latter is in play here, as King Arthur: Legend of the Sword is a clunky mess with clear evidence that it was not the film Richie had intended to make.
While studio interference isn't necessarily a bad thing (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is the perfect example here); it can at times ruin things with potential (Suicide Squad we're looking at you).
For starters, Richie's latest film doesn't even have a fully-fledged story. While the plot commences promisingly in the first and third acts; it gets lost in the muddling middle act which stagnates, and doesn't match up with the rest of the film.
Richie's latest also doesn't feel like a King Arthur film, as it barely adapts anything from the Arthurian mythology; and mainly relies on names of characters and locations to constitute it as a Camelot adventure.
The slapdash narrative leaves plot holes and underdeveloped characters in its wake, despite some snarky Guy Richie dialogue and strong performances from the cast.
Hunnam is the one who brings his a-game to the party, delivering a charismatic (and often humorous) performance; while Law – who sits at the other end of the spectrum – brings complexity and real villainy to his character.
Richie's distinctive directorial style is on full display here with plenty of slo-mo shots, stylish action sequences, lavish visuals, eye-catching set designs and breathtaking medieval cinematography that will impress.
Verdict: King Arthur: Legend of the Sword is a low point in Guy Richie's illustrious career. While everything from the director's distinctive style to the eye-catching sets, visuals and action are impressive; a few narrative inconsistencies and source material straying ultimately bog the film down into a disappointing sub-par fantasy.