Reel Reviews: King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

By Josh Simpkins

Have you ever made something only to think if you did it again it would come out better? So, you make it again, but its only slightly better than before. However, it is better, so you are content. Contentment soon fades and you want to remake your item yet again, so you diligently set to work creating said item—again. Only this time you know it’ll be better than ever before because now you have bigger and better tools with which to create. This is Hollywood with film ideas. How many actors have played Spiderman, 007, and Batman? One legend that has been made and remade is the Arthurian legend. Disney hit us with The Sword in the Stone, director John Boorman took the Arthurian legend to the next level with Excalibur, then director Antoine Fuqua gave us a very stylized and gritty peer into the legend with 2004’s King Arthur starring Clive Owen. Now, thanks to writer/director extraordinaire Guy Ritchie (Snatch; Sherlock Holmes) we have yet another new take on Arthur, Camelot, and Excalibur with King Arthur: Legend of the Sword—starring Charlie Hunnam (The Lost City of Z), Astrid Bergès-Frisbey (Alaska), Jude Law (Genius), Djimon Hounsou (The Legend of Tarzan), Eric Bana (The Secret Scripture), and Rob Knighton (Anti-Social).

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword opens with the evil warrior mage Mordred (Knighton) as he lays siege to the last free stronghold in all the kingdoms: King Uther (Bana) Pendragon’s Camelot. Just as it seems Uther and his armies will win the day, a dastardly betrayal by Uther’s own brother Vortigern (Law) leaves Uther dead, the kingdom usurped, and little Arthur Pendragon adrift in a basket without a family. Young Arthur is found by some ladies of the night in the capital city of Londinium and is taken in to be raised in a brothel. As the boy grows older, he spends his time as a street rat, running from trouble and standing up to those that trouble and bully him. Fast-forward twenty years, now an adult, Arthur (Hunnam) has grown into strong, cocky and sly hustler with his fingers in many pies.

Over this time Vortigren’s power has risen, but his popularity has waned. Fearful of the true born king returning to take back the crown and seek vengeance for his slain family, Vortigren becomes truly vexed when the Sword in the Stone reveals itself after decades of slumber. Not one to rest on his laurels, Vortigren decrees that all males of the proper age throughout the kingdom must try to remove the sword from the stone, thus revealing their true lineage and sealing their fate. When Arthur is required to take his turn, he pulls the mighty Excalibur from the stone, and is forced to acknowledge his true legacy—whether he likes it or not. Guided by a beautiful and mysterious girl sent by Merlin known as The Mage (Bergès-Frisbey) and backed by Uther’s former general, Sir Bedevere (Hounsou), Arthur must come to grips with his ancestry and the responsibilities that it comes with, if he is to defeat his sinister uncle and take back Camelot.

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword is pure Guy Ritchie. This film is like Snatch meets Excalibur with a dash of The Lord of the Rings and a pinch of The Princess Bride—the Rodents of Unusual Size are hard to miss. I am hard-pressed to find a glaring flaw in this fast paced and action-packed 126-minute film. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword is a fun and entertaining first step in what appears to be a franchise creation. Go see King Arthur: Legend of the Sword and have some fun at the movies.