A king betrayed. A young heir spirited away. An evil uncle that would kill him. These are the opening scenes to Guy Ritchie’s loud and frenetic take on Arthurian legend in ‘King Arthur: Legend of The Sword’.
...this is the King Arthur story told at full tilt with the visual effects set up to “epic mode”.
Arriving with a bang and not a whimper, this is the King Arthur story told at full tilt with the visual effects set up to “epic mode”. Mixing together elements of ‘300’, ‘Lord of The Rings’ and Ritchie’s own signature fast-cut editing style, the end result feels like an odd cocktail of influences.
Racing through both plot and characters like a buzz-saw through bullet points, history here feels both malleable and elastic. Eventually settling down on adult Arthur’s petty thief origins (cue Ritchie’s cockney-caper style of direction) the movie goes on to provide ribould, ear-catching dialogue which is entertainingly performed.
However, even with dependable gravitas coming from both Jude Law and (a much under-used) Peter Ferdinando, ‘King Arthur: Legend of The Sword’ never really lingers long enough on its characters. Instead, with intrigue banished from this kinetically-told kingdom, ‘King Arthur: Legend of The Sword’ is a blade is left dull by its own overarching need for action.
With John Boorman’s ‘Excalibur’ left as the sharper insight in to what truly made Arthur a legend, this is a tale short on both Merlin and mystery. Until somebody like Ben Wheatley gives it the proper creepiness it deserves, this is one sword that you might want to leave sheathed in stone until the rightful heir appears.1