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King Arthur: Legend Of The Sword

Aaron Hunt  
 
3.8
 
0.0 (0)
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King Arthur: Legend Of The Sword

Overview

Directed By
Official Synopsis
Robbed of his birthright, Arthur comes up the hard way in the back alleys of the city. But once he pulls the sword from the stone, he is forced to acknowledge his true legacy - whether he likes it or not.
Release Date
5/12/17
MPAA Rating
PG-13

Hunnam’s honeycomb undercut, chic again, has survived the time warp once more. Its top strains and buzzed sides once grazed Victorian Era Amazonia Green (The Lost City Of Z) and now, in King Arthur: Legend Of The Sword, come to test the fashion tolerances of late 5th Century England, the Dark Ages, without so much as a funny look.

Hunnam plays Arthur as cocksure and heroically reluctant. A small town guy, with humble dreams. He’d prefer to stay townie than be king, hence the subtitle ‘Legend Of The Sword’ an oddly overt emphasis on the literal magic object that drives the story more than its characters, or a latent nod to the fact that ‘Arthur’ works much more than it should as a result of snip snap economy, sudsy action, and labored acting, than any of its writing residuals. 

Ritchie includes two montages set to (literally) rhythmic breathing and olde twangs; some sort of revolutionary soundtrack from the genius of his recent collaborator Daniel Pemberton (Sherlock, Steve Jobs). The gratification comes easy, the dollies close in quick, and the whole blur feels twice as fast for its hyperventilating score. There’s also a couple he said, she said bits that whip pan between timelines and that feels uniquely Ritchie, and runs as fast as he ever has.

King Arthur Legend of the Sword Official Trailer 1

Which is this Blockbuster’s saving grace from looking and feeling like just the spinning innards of a concrete-mixer drum. Ritchie’ll never put form and language to the wayside like the marvel films did long ago. He’s not just covering an action, he’s feeling it -- the camera and edit move with intention outside a drab chronology. It feels ridiculous to be rewarding what is essentially filmmaking’s barebones, but when have you ever been wowed by a Marvel film’s technique? Can you recall a single shot that caught your fancy, or that was conducive to the feel of a scene? 

Ritchie gets it, so it feels like a vision, albeit one pieced together with a smorgasbord of archetypal parts. It’s his breathless energy that gets us through where his writers (including himself) have half-assed. But they’ve written some funnies that persist through the two hours, and a good laugh, I’ve found, is the quickest way to swoon an audience over to your side. 

But the same economy that saves King Arthur grinds against it. The math’s lopsided, and it never strikes the balance. The roster here is objectively underdeveloped, the soon to be Knights of the Roundtable recognizable only by the disparity in their physique. Females, benchwarmers ‘til whistled for, mostly watch events unreel in the background (the mage being the obvious exception) but, thankfully, are not granted easy romantic accessibility. 

King Arthur Legend of the Sword Official Trailer 5

King Vortigern, who’s acquired the throne from a parasitic deal with pestilence, a gluttonous evil awesomely realized through hybrid computer/practical effects, can barely withstand the weight of his crown, and so only rarely wears it. He’ll hold it in his hands, pondering it, before committing to the encumbrance when his power comes to test. Jude Law plays the man smarmy, and lonely, enacting his betrayals in privacy and enduring the guilt alone. 

The film lends most it’s time to Vortigern and to its hero Arthur, who is less compelling but still cheer absorbent thanks to Hunnam’s natural swagger. He aspires to remain Ritchie’s small-time thug, til he doesn’t, in which case the film becomes the aforementioned concrete slush, a video-game cutscene of a final boss battle.

But, you care just enough about the characters for Ritchie’s verve to blindsight you. Or maybe, it won’t, and maybe, you won’t care. A good way to gauge it: If you know you won’t be able to forgive Hunnam’s 5th Century undercut, when the rest of Dark Age England has managed to, you won’t be able to forgive its other fallacies, and, while you’re hung up, you’ll trip running at Ritchie’s speed. Keep up.

King Arthur Legend of the Sword Official Trailer 2

Editor review

(Updated: October 23, 2017)
Overall rating 
 
3.8
Entertainment Value 
 
4.0
Story/Writing 
 
3.0
Performance (Acting) 
 
4.0
Direction 
 
4.0
Production 
 
4.0

King Arthur: Legend Of The Sword

But, you care just enough about the characters for Ritchie’s verve to blindsight you. Or maybe, it won’t, and maybe, you won’t care. A good way to gauge it: If you know you won’t be able to forgive Hunnam’s 5th Century undercut, when the rest of Dark Age England has managed to, you won’t be able to forgive its other fallacies, and, while you’re hung up, you’ll trip running at Ritchie’s speed. Keep up.

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