Imagine that the Robert Downey Jr. Sherlock Holmes movies and Zack Snyder’s 300 fucked and had a baby. That baby would be KING ARTHUR: LEGEND OF THE SWORD. Now depending if you liked either of those films or not is going to tell whether you like this movie or not. If you hated both of them, stay away. If you liked one of them, you might enjoy this. If you thought both were pretty cool, then you’ll think this is cool too. As for my opinion? I’m option three. I really like the first 300 and both Sherlock Holmes movies (prefer the underrated superior second film) and so I really liked this.
Granted, this is no masterpiece and this won’t win any awards, but damn it if I didn’t really enjoy myself. And all of it is probably due to director Guy Ritchie. Guy Ritchie could’ve just shot this straight, making something akin to the horrible Snow White and the Huntsman films. Those films are just journey’s that go from beginning to end with no stylistic presence, straightly told, often boring, waiting for the next action scene to happen. Well in this film, Guy Ritchie puts all that shit, throws it in a blender, adds his own ingredients, takes it out, bakes it, chops it up some more, fries it, and then serves it on a platter to his audience.
If you still don’t get it, let me give you an example. Even the fucking scenes with dialogue and explanations are editing and cut fast and furiously, with Ritchie’s stylistic taste for rapid succeeding shots and dialogue to make something that would ultimately be pointless and boring, into something light, funny, entertaining, yet dazzle your eyes with it’s complexity. We get an awesome montage at the beginning of the film showing Arthur growing up, with cool music and fast beats that any other director would shoot slow, steady, and ultimately end up as a snore fest of 10 to 15 minutes. The montage scene is about 3 minutes, frantic, and shows the audience everything they need to know while keeping them intrigued.
The actions scenes where Arthur has to go out and prove himself/do something to further his journey are insane too. Instead of giving explanations of what he must do and then do it, (which would take almost half the movies run time), he splices the explanation with Arthur already doing what he needs to do, at an energetic pace to keep the plot and run time moving instead of slowing anything down. Because this movie does not slow down, at all. It is in your face and gives audience what they deserve: a very decent, yet another retelling of the Arthur and Excalibur legend.
Remember that boring shit one with Clive Owen and Keira Knightly? Yeah, we don’t get that here. That movie was too down to earth. Here we get giant city flattening elephants, mage’s with wicked powers, 300 slo-mo sword fights and bad-assery, cool chase scenes and half way decent special effects. Any director would take forever with Arthur pulling the sword out of the stone (probably would be at the halfway mark in a movie if anyone else did it), but Ritchie gets that shit out of the way 20 minutes in. I think he even winks at the audience as Arthur is waiting in line to pull the sword, gets tired of waiting, and cuts everyone else in line just to get it over with.
And remember by earlier review for Charlie Hunnam’s The Lost City of Z and how fantastic of an actor he was in that? Well he is awesome in this too and wishes he does stuff like this more often. Jude Law is a pretty decent bad guy but I wish I got a little bit more of him in this. The supporting cast is good too even though they are limited in what they have story wise.
But yes, this is the best King Arthur adaptation since Disney’s The Sword and the Stone. No doubt in my opinionated mind. For two hours I was up in my seat, eyes glued to the screen, not expecting to get a cool frantic tale like this…was really expecting something slow and boring. But this, this is anything but boring. Guy Ritchie knows how to make an entertaining film. He knows that the audience can go to sleep at the snap of the fingers, but he knows to be right in front of you with a bullhorn the entire runtime, just to make sure you are paying attention.