KING ARTHUR: LEGEND OF THE SWORD REVIEW
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword blurred the lines between fairytale and history making the audience think for itself. Watching King Arthur: Legend of The Sword is a visceral experience – one you won’t be able to tear your eyes away from.
Camelot- the age of innocence, love, and peace. Camelot- an age that whirls in the fantasy of a King that will bring prosperity and peace in a land fraught with battle scars. Camelot- one that will begin with a man pulling a sword from a stone- Excaliber. We’ve all grown up on Camelot – our parents with JFK’s administration- us with the fairytales of Arthur, Lancelot, and Guinevere, a love triangle that supposedly brought down what should have been the best kingdom to ever exist. Director Guy Ritchie (Sherlock Holmes) in conjunction with true Warner Bros. form brings us King Arthur: Legend of the Sword to us in a very different way, melding modernism with the epic tale that this movie creates in a way not previously told. Bringing us to the roots of Arthur’s fight for his people – for his kingdom- shows us a different side of Arthur- full of fight and vigor to survive and win his crown.
Ritchie ensnares us in believing in King Arthur by blurring the lines between fantasy and history- propelling the audience to think deeply about their own beliefs while sucking us into an electrifying almost modern Camelot the whole time without us even realizing it. Using modern guitar acoustic background music to propel events, Ritchie has created an intense action/drama with unique features to keep our interest. Taking us a few minutes into the future in the scenes between Uncle and Nephew in the castle – jumping from scene to scene- which, could have been confusing- was typical Ritchie style and served a huge purpose of keeping the audience engaged. Any confusion is minimal and worth the foreshadowing. Ritchie has brought modernism to the oldest tale of an ancient kingdom’s regality with such an intensity that it hurts when it’s over.
The directing of this film would not have worked without the incredible caliber of actors case. Charlie Hunman (The Lost City of Z) portrays Arthur Pendragon, sent away by his father only to be raised in a brothel. Despite his unusual upbringing, when he pulls Excaliber out of the stone, even his Uncle (Jude Law; The Young Pope)- who stole the Crown from King Uther, Arthur’s father, recognizes the passion and drive that literally possesses Arthur. It seems as if one cannot escape one’s destiny. Ensuing flashbacks throughout the movie bring Arthur to a full realization of what his destiny actually is, along with the help of the Mage (Astrid Berges-Frisbey; Pirates of the Carribean: On Stranger Tides) as well as Dijmon Hounsou (Furious 7) whose expressions could ensure the command of anyone. Aiden Gillen (Game of Thrones) also needs to be commended for his performance- the articulate and meticulous persona that we all know and love from Game of Thrones- going against orders in order to further Arthur’s cause.
Hunman brings both an innocence and a ruthlessness to Arthur’s character, showing the audience that the golden boy has darkness around him, also. It parallels the ruthlessness exhibited by Jude Law as Arthur’s Uncle and constantly reminds the audience that the Pendragon men could be one and the same if circumstances were different. Hunman’s humor throughout the movie is simple and never seems forced. His actions are natural and the audience will root for him to defeat Law’s character despite the adversity his faces. Berges-Frisby is amazing as the Mage and the onscreen chemistry/interaction with Hunman is unmistakable.
Jude Law’s ruthlessness is very different from Hunam’s characters. While Hunman’s is more of an innocent ruthlessness- the necessity to survive, Law’s is calculated. You can see him sitting on the throne, speaking with his advisers, and simply watching everything. Law shows his emotions in his eyes and they are not hidden in King Arthur: Legend of the Sword. Law is an intelligent and serious actor, a calculated actor in itself and one who shows that his role is who he is and you cannot forget him. Law was the perfect choice for a man who killed his brother, murdered his wife, and seeks to destroy his nephew- all for power that is simply fear of his people instead of the people loving their King.
Hopefully, this will be one of many Guy Ritchie’s King Arthur movies in the Camelot Universe that will come to fruition. There is so much more to this film than hunky actors, an experienced Director, and fairy tale (or is it history?) of a King of epic proportions. I loved that the film blurred the lines between fairy tale and history making the audience think for itself. Watching King Arthur: Legend of The Sword is a visceral experience- one you won’t be able to tear your eyes away from. How this missed instant Blockbuster hit in the theaters is a complete mystery- one that only the Mage might be able to explain. From the explosive music that supplements the action scenes to the brash but occasional naturally humorous dialogue the draws you into every conversation to getting to know the epic story of Camelot in such a different yet captivating way, this is a movie that you must own.