King Arthur: Legend of the Sword is a modern day retelling of a popular medieval tale starring King Arthur, who was robbed of his birthright by his power hungry uncle; Vortigern. As a result, Arthur is forced to grow up in the back alleys of Londinium to regain his crown. Along his path, he manages to pull the Excalibur sword from stone, thereby allowing him to embrace his destiny to become a legendary leader and warrior.
Before walking into the theatre, I knew this movie would have a different vibe to than a contemporary retelling of a popular historical event. This is because is was directed by Guy Ritchie. King Arthur: Legend of the sword unleashes its narrative onto its audience through using fastly cut montages covering key events of the movie and epic set pieces to glorify scale and scope. The costume and set design of this movie was amazing, even by today’s standards. It is certainly the stylistic aspects that make this movie better than it should be.
The soundtrack of this movie is also just as epic. Daniel Pemberton does an outstanding job to construct a soundtrack that utilizes both contemporary and medieval tunes. These tunes significantly compliment the fast paced action sequences in the movie. In addition, Charlie Hunnam as King Arthur was totally buyable, both in terms of his performance and physique. I read that he gave up a lot just to be considered for this movie and it certainly shows. Jude Law was average at best. There was nothing unique or interesting about his character apart from the fact that he despised Arthur and was prone to making sacrifices; a placeholder villain.
My main critique of this film is that is a style over substance movie. The actual story and themes that the film is trying to convey are forgettable and are a backdrop to the glorious visual aspects. In addition, the subtle nuances in the development and motivations of different characters are also blinded by this. The film’s overall plot structure was also quite uneven. On one hand, the first act of the movie was quite dull and uninteresting whereas the third act of the movie was pretty much just a clusterfuck of CGI heavy action, which I believe drew away from the rustic and medieval feel of the movie.
In conclusion, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword is nowhere near as bad as movie critics are calling it out to be. Yes, this movie is definitely more style over substance, which means that its plot is secondary to all the cool set pieces and action sequences. However, this movie showcases impressive visual effects and a brilliant soundtrack that blends well with the action going on. It is a classic summer popcorn flick.