The evolution of Guy Ritchie‘s career is a bit of an oddity. At one point, someone decided that he should stop making indie films and do mainstream stuff, and he decided that this ominous being was correct.
I’m okay with this, because Ritchie has a style to his movies that I’ve always liked, and he has seemed to maintain at least a little bit of that style in every movie that he’s made. But I also don’t like this because now his movies are watermarked with lots and lots of hollywood cliches. What’s even more perplexing about this is, according to a very long interview he did with Joe Rogan, the studios he works with never pressures him to put any of these cliches in. Maybe Guy Ritchie likes these cliches.
Anyway, I saw this movie, and I thought it was some grand fun. There are a vast amount of issues with the movie, but Guy Ritchie does enough right to make many (not all, but many) of these issues forgivable.
Here’s what I liked about the movie:
Arguably what pleased me the most about King Arthur is just how much of Ritchie’s style is infused into this movie: witty dialogue with snarky remarks and interesting ways to relay information. This style also kept the flow of the movie speedy and interesting.
I say arguably in the first paragraph because I’m stuck between the Ritchie style and the soundtrack from being my favorite part of the movie. You may laugh at me for saying this about a gritty reboot of King Arthur, but it’s currently my favorite soundtrack of the year so far… it’s a mix between heart-pumping action music with a sort of congealed UK snark to it. I’ve been listening to the soundtrack on repeat while writing this review.
The way this movie is shot is, for the most part, standard, but there were a handful of scenes where the camerawork really added to the immersement of the scene. Ritchie is pretty fantastic at relaying visual information in a way that is gritty and interesting. Some of the fight scenes are shot extremely well despite the shaky camera work, and most of the time when they use slow motion, it’s used effectively.
Charlie Hunnam does good in his role, and almost everyone else in the film does well too. There is no stand-out role, and there is no exceptional performance, but except for one person (who I’ll get to later), nobody did a bad job, that’s including the young boy who follows Arthur and his gang throughout most of the movie.
And honestly, this was an extremely fun movie. The character chemistry, the cohesiveness of the story, and the pacing are all well above par for movies like this.
Alright, here’s what I disliked about this movie.
So the mage chick was really really off. I honestly can’t tell if her character was just written as a monotone, stiff character, or if it was just her performance that was to blame. Either way, her character wasn’t good.
There is a lot of CGI in this movie. This didn’t bother me that much; there were a few times where I was wondering what the point of mountain-high elephants were in a King Arthur movie, but the movie has a consistent fantasizing, magical tone within the movie without being overbearing, so it’s almost forgivable.
There’s a few scenes that were poorly executed. A great example is when Arthur has been grabbed by a massive creature, and they never show how he got away from it. It was just implied that he did. There’s moments like that in the movie that are jarring and edited poorly.
Also, and this is just a message to anybody who makes films anymore: written narration at the beginning of the film is almost never necessary. About 99% of movies that I see with written narration at the beginning serve no purpose but to spoon feed information that was obvious in the first place.
Okay, so I know there are going to be some people that hate this, so I’m going to bring it up: the fight scene at the end, in which King Arthur fights Jude Law as he turns into a massive grim reaper looking guy, and the entire thing ends up looking like a video game boss fight. My brother absolutely hated this scene (there’s a lot that my brother hated about this movie), and yeah it seems a little weird to be in a King Arthur movie, but I honestly don’t see what the big deal is. The magical elements in the movie are highly emphasized throughout the entire movie, so it’s not like it was out of place for this movie.
Basically, I admit that this movie has problems, but I had a hell of a time with it. It was fun, it was witty, it was different, and it was cohesive and competent enough to not trip over its heals. And the soundtrack is currently the best soundtrack of 2017…. it still feels weird saying that.
I’ve been looking at all the critical reviews for this movie, including what my brother said he hated about the movie, and it all boils down to one thing: “it’s not like the classical King Arthur tale at all, and it didn’t feel like a King Arthur movie”.
Oh, what a valid criticism. You know there’s a 2004 King Arthur movie that tried to be a truer to original story than this one did… oh wait, you cretins didn’t like that movie either. Someone go tell Monty Python and the Holy Grail how much they suck because they made a mockery of the source material. Good Lord.
As for me, I don’t care too much for King Arthur lore, and I typically try to divorce myself from any source material from any movie, as long as any changes a movie makes to it enhances the entertainment value and at least makes sense. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword did that for me.
If you’re looking to be entertained, then go see this movie. There’s a chance some of the legitimate problems may be enough for you to dislike this movie. It was enough for me to say “It’s not the best…”, but it’s not enough for me to say that it wasn’t a solid cinematic experience.