KING ARTHUR: LEGEND OF THE SWORD - A Review


When my friend, Tessa, invited me to see this movie, I had heard absolutely nothing about it. I did know the legend of King Arthur and Excalibur, so deductive reasoning led me to the correct assumption that this would be a tale of King Arthur and how he came upon the Excalibur.

First things first, this movie is not what you expect. It has grit, dirt, and most assuredly a complete lack of the prim and properness one is normally used to seeing in these sort of stories.

The element that pulled me in initially was the soundtrack. It had this really dense, deep sound paired with strings and a toughness that I can't quite describe. Honestly, you'd do better just to listen to it yourself. Here. I'll get you started.
I'm used to Guy Ritchie films starting with a bang to grab the attention, but this movie's opening scene had me a little worried about the pacing of the movie. It consisted of an oddly timed slow burn with unexpected gigantic elephants that, after around 10 minutes or so, finally picked up to meet the rest of the film's feel which catered to Ritchie's typical, frenetic fashion (I got major Snatch flashbacks when watching some of the expository scenes). Besides that initial confusion, the pacing of the movie kept me entertained and engaged throughout. No issues on my end as far as that goes.
The imagery was gorgeous, albeit a bit grey as a whole, but I feel like that added to what I believe was the intended ambiance of the movie. At some points, I did want to see the lush greenery in full force, but there was that damned grey sheet over nearly all of it. I'm not 100% sold on that choice, but I can at least go with it as it wasn't so distracting that I couldn't focus on the story and characters.

If we're being honest with ourselves and Mr. Ritchie when it comes to the storyline, there's not a lot there. But keeping that truthfulness in mind, do we need a riveting story with twists, turns, intrigues, and the like out of this movie? In my opinion, no. This is a summer flick in its purest sense, and all of the naysayers are taking it *way* too seriously. Swords, sorcery, good, evil, eye porn. That's about it. And that's ok.

I did find it slightly odd that the titular character came off as more of a "Robin Hood" to me than an actual King Arthur, but I believe this is a hopeful initial installment of a multi-movie franchise. Perhaps that's why the critics are relatively unpleased with it: it doesn't feel complete all by itself, and that's something I, personally, am ok with. I'm looking forward to the next one if it ever gets off the ground.
Jude Law's Vortigern was... ok. While I appreciated the depth he brought to the role - it takes a good actor to poignantly portray the pathos of killing a loved one for one's own advancement - I did feel a little cheated because it lacked any semblance of gleeful villainy. Everything he did was awful, and he didn't relish in a single moment, something that the character could have benefited from greatly. Without that mirth, his motivation was purely greed-based, and I had a hard time believing that a man would do all the things he did just for power. Then again, I am notoriously naive when it comes to the depth of the depravity of man, so what do I know?

The rest of the acting was good, but no one was really a stand-out for me. They all did good jobs of playing characters believingly enough to where I didn't pick apart their ability and conviction while the movie was ongoing, and that is a feat in and of itself. Good job, dudes and dudettes.

I'd recommend going to see it if you're looking for a rousing, action-packed summer blockbuster that doesn't require a lot of thought. If you're looking for a cerebral movie that makes you contemplate the meaning of life, this probably isn't one for you. And that's ok. It takes all kinds.

Peace.
Stef.

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