Review: Guy Ritchie injects gallons of his mayhem-infused blockbuster niches to the chivalrous tale of King Arthur and makes this ‘origin story’ an electric celebration of mess. There are giant elephants bigger than Peter Jackson’s Oliphants, giant human-eating snake, and, even, a humanoid octopussy which looks like a fresh cameo from Disney’s Little Mermaid. Apparently, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword is loud, dynamic, gegenpressing-laden, and chaotic – in good way, and bad way.
Arthur (Charlie Hunnam) is depicted as a fallen prince rising as a misfit from the street. His royal parent was usurped by his uncle, Vortigern (Jude Law), after his valiant father (Eric Bana) brought down army of evil mage in the film’s bombastic opening. Orphaned Arthur is then raised by women of a brothel and quickly rises into a legend when he eventually lifts his father’s legendary sword, Excalibur, before David Beckham. Yes, Becks.
Ritchie’s King Arthur neglects all the folklore thingy behind and, instead, works on its own style-over-substance presentation. Often narrating the story in fast-cut flashback-fast-forward mix, which somehow reminds me to Tarantino’s slick narration, with occasional action sequences which rely heavily on CGI and quick cuts, Ritchie has only one goal: to make it as entertaining as possible.
If that’s really is his goal, he’s done it right. Story and character isn’t really a thing for this film, let alone accuracy (after all, there’s no clear history evidence to become a valid source). There are lots of fantasy wonders in this King Arthur – from a Kung-Fu warrior, lame Vikings, Game of Thrones’ warg-like magician, lady in the water, to a battalion of Kylo Ren – but they do not really engage into the narrative but to become some gimmick.
The best part of King Arthur: Legend of the Sword is the juxtaposition between Daniel Pemberton’s industrial scoring that blends medieval instruments with heavymetal riffs and the slick editing. This blend-in becomes the film heart-beat and, surprisingly, is able to give tempo to the plot. When this and Guy Ritchie’s rockarolla’s stylish panache get along on screen, King Arthur becomes the most fun, but when they’re absent, the whole film feels empty. Yet, two hours still feel long for a story as thin as this (just like in Ritchie’s recent films where the duration always feels overlong and tiring), even if Ritchie’s style bravura keeps astonishing.
After all, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword is still an exhilarating medieval heavymetal fest weighed down by thin, ineffective narrative and empty characterization.
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (2017)