Does King Arthur: Legend of the Sword deserve to be a flop? It is another decade and that means there is another adaptation of the English legend of King Arthur. In fact, there are over 100 film and television adaptations from some successful adaptations such as Clive Owens “King Arthur” in 2004 and Disney’s “Sword in the Stone” and of course, “Excalibur”, as well as some more unsuccessful attempts which mainly end up as straight to DVD movies such as “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthurs Court”
I use the word successful very loosely as, even though King Arthur and his Knights of the Round table is a well-known fantasy story, in recent years, the movies and television series never seem to go down well with the critics.
The last big budget King Arthur film was King Arthur starring Clive Owen and Keira Knightly, this time giving King Arthur’s legend an origin story. This was in 2004 where swords were the thing. Everything needed a huge army battle and even though this film was not fantasy, it was trying to ride on the success of films such as Lord of the Rings and Gladiator. At the time, this was not the only film. We also had Troy and Kingdom of Heaven trying to create a similar feel. King Arthur received a rating of 31% on movie review website Rotten Tomatoes.
We are now 13 years in the future and this time acclaimed British Director Guy Ritchie has set up his chair and given the King Arthur franchise another shot.
A short synopsis
This film is complete fantasy, let’s get that out of the way. The film is well cast and tells the story of Arthur, son of King Uther Eric Bana), who is sent away as a child as his father is betrayed by Vortigen (Jude Law). In true Guy Ritchie style, Arthur is brought up in a brothel and grows up to be a gangster figure, looking after his ladies (not in a pimp way, more in a caring way) until his father’s sword reveals itself ready for the true King to pull it out. Vortigen, who is now King goes on a hunt for the person of age who can pull the sword so he can dispose of him.
The film is well cast from top to bottom with Charlie Hunnam taking the leading role. Even though he is not a classic hero type actor, he came across as a gritty, Heath Ledger in a Knights Tale. You can see why Guy Ritchie wanted him for the Arthur he wanted to portray, an Arthur we have not seen yet. His antagonist Jude Law, plays Vortigen, a very Jude Law type Villain, a villain willing to do anything to protect his title of King.
Also there is a great cameo by David Beckham
This film is a Guy Ritchie film, the music was reminiscent of Sherlock Holmes and the action sequence, even though unlike anything he has performed before, still smells of Ritchie all over. The trademarks of a Guy Ritchie film are all there from the thick London accents to the way the film feels.
Why is it a flop?
It is hard to tell, if people do not go to the cinema, then it is a flop. It is clear the film has tried to stay away from Marvel films with the release date but the reviews have not helped this. Critics have said that the film had pacing issues and relied on CGI for its action sequences.
What did the people think?
The good thing about Rotten Tomatoes is that it also gives an audience insight. Actually, at the time of writing this, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword is currently rating at 80%. That is not bad. There does seem to be some stock in what the critics have said. Pacing certainly seems to be a theme but the consensus is relatively good.
What did I think?
Well first let me tell you, I do not listen to critics, if I want to see a film, I’ll watch it. I try to watch a bit of everything. Two weeks ago, I watched Arrival, this was scored 92% by Rotten Tomatoes but the audience only rated it 82%, 2% more than King Arthur. Arrival was nominated for a bunch of Oscars. If we want to talk pacing issues, Arrival was that. I actually enjoyed King Arthur: Legend of the Sword. It has some bits that admittedly did drag but when the film was good, it was good.
The film was big, it was loud and it did have action, but even my girlfriend who would rather be watching Gilmore Girls than a film based on King Arthur but she also enjoyed it.
If you want to watch something you need to think about then do not watch this, if you want something fun, loud and a bit over the top, book a Saturday night showing of King Arthur: Legend of the Sword. Critics don’t like it because there is nothing there for critics to like but if you saw the trailer and thought, that looks alright, then watch it, this film is for you.
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword is out on the 19th May 2017