a KING ARTHUR: LEGEND OF THE SWORD musing
The tale of King Arthur has always been steeped in fantastical elements, but this new spin on the classical story decides to take a Lord of the Rings fantasy approach. To its benefit, it provides some pretty cool action, but it’s so effects-driven to the point where it became hard to watch. There’s a lot of pointless spectacle that gets boring to watch at times. When it’s not busy being fancy, that’s where KING ARTHUR really thrives.
Guy Ritchie is one of those directors whose work you know when you see it right away. His trademark grittiness and street level antics are used so well in his early films like LOCK, STOCK AND TWO SMOKING BARRELS and SNATCH. While it can be jarring sometimes to see that kind of action and quick cutting in this time period, it’s actually quite refreshing. Conversational scenes are punched up with quick cuts and show the plan in action. This isn’t your dad’s medieval movie. Ritchie works hard to get his style and vision to work well on screen and accomplishes that, but you can tell what he wasn’t so enthusiastic about putting in.
The fantastical CGI-fest that KING ARTHUR becomes at times can become meaningless and benign. It seems so un Ritchie-like, something forced in by the studio so that they can do more world-building to have another franchise, another cinematic universe. (Originally, this was planned to be a cinematic universe, with each Knight of the Round Table getting their own movie.) While Jude Law is great at chewing all of the scenery, it’s tiring by the end of the movie. I do applaud the film for establishing the zaniness and mayhem that is going to happen for the next two hours by starting off with the hundred foot tall elephant, telling us this is what we’re in for.
KING ARTHUR: LEGEND OF THE SWORD builds on the classic tale, while punching in fresh, 21st-centuryisms all over, but doesn’t add up to much in the end. There is a lot of potential in this franchise, especially with all the fantasy building blocks it establishes. It was certainly more fun than I was expecting, and that’s more than I was hoping for.
RATING: DIDN’T WASTE MY MONEY
(Refer to my rating system HERE!)