In theatres this Friday from writer/director Guy Ritchie and Warner Bros. Pictures comes a different telling of KING ARTHUR: Legend of the Sword.
Arthur (Charlie Hunnam) is a young man raised in a brothel in the middle of Londinium with his friends Back Lack (Neil Maskell) & Wet Stick (Kingsley Ben-Adir). Taking care of business and saving his riches, it is a life he’s known.
Vortigern (Jude Law) is a vicious ruler who will stop at nothing to keep his crown, including the murder of his brother King Uther (Eric Bana). When the waters begin to recede around the castle, it exposes the sword Excalibur that is embedded in the stone. The evil king discovers that his brother’s son is alive and could stop him with the mere pulling of the sword out of the stone.
Calling for young men to try and receive a mark of testing, Arthur finds himself in the line after the brothel is raided. To the surprise of prisoners and guards a like, the sword glides out of the stone with ease sending Arthur into a state.
Rescued by Bill (Aidan Gillen), Bedivere (Djimon Hounsou) and helped by the young Mage (Astrid Berges-Frisbey). Told the story of his parents and how Vortigern came to power, Arthur isn’t sure he wants to help. Changing his mind is Vortigern himself when he comes after everyone he has come to respect.
The only way to stop the evil is by taking down the tower where Vortigern’s evil geminates and Arthur has learned the power of Excalibur and wields it as only a king could.
That’s what happens when you are raised in the brothel but born to be King!
Hunnam as Arthur gives it his all in biting line delivery and knock down drag out fight scenes. I actually enjoyed his performance but then again so did about every other gal in the theatre. There is a pull between wanting to be the regular guy running a brother Arthur and knowing that there is something more to his life.
Law as Vortigern takes evil to another level in that he does it with such calm. Sometimes that’s much scarier than crazy shouting evil characters. Of course if I had a crazy creature living in my basement I might feel good about ruling my world. I just love the fact that Law is so versatile and makes being a bad king kind of fun to watch.
Berges-Frisbey as the Mage is quiet but careful in everything she does. Knowing that ever move it to rid their kingdom of Vortigern, she also knows that only Arthur can make that happen. Maskell as Back Lack believes in Arthur and is actually one of my favorite characters because he does stand by his friend so steadfastly.
Gillen as Bill is a determined arrow shooting man who isn’t about to let evil take over anything which is quite a change for this actor given his Game of Thrones character. Hounsou as Bedivere is a strong leader and wants Arthur to accept his heritage and the power of the sword.
Other cast includes Freddie Fox as Rubio, Craig McGinlay as Percival, Tom Wu as George, Geoff Bell as Mischief John, Annabelle Wallis as Maggie, Zac and Oliver Barker as Young Arthur.
TUBS OF POPCORN: I give KING ARTHUR: Legend of the Sword three tubs of popcorn out of five. Here’s the problem, from the moments of the opening scene I felt as if I’d been in this scene before. A tower with a red glow? Fighting elephants? Did someone break into the Weta Workshop and revive Sauron? Apparently not as my plus one revealed to me that it was his second cousin once removed Ted.
And then there is the humor that is fantastic and I couldn’t stop myself from laughing. The scene where Arthur is explaining his wear-a-bouts to a town official is nothing short of well done. The exchange between Arthur and his friends is equally funny.
So in lies the dilemma – I’m not actually sure how I feel about the film. I honestly didn’t go in expecting much so in that sense I wasn’t disappointed. Perhaps I wanted more, perhaps I wanted not so much predictability or perhaps I am asking too much since the films coming out of Hollywood lately keep me out of theatres and into Netflix.
Hunnam and Law fans will be happy to see the two go head to head but whether that is enough I will leave up to the audience. It isn’t going to be an easy opening because Arthur and the gang are still up against some heavy hitters that aren’t going to go down quietly.
In the end – from the stone to the throne!