King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (2017)

King Arthur wears a leather jacket in front of a grey sky and faces the viewer, his sword held by both hands downward in front of his chest.Bored of the Rings

Director: Guy Ritchie
Running Time: 126 Minutes
Starring: Charlie Hunnam, Àstrid Bergès-Frisbey, Djimon Hounsou, Aiden Gillen, Jude Law, Eric Bana, Tom Wu, Freddie Fox, Craig McGinlay, Neil Maskell, Kingsley Ben-Adir, Michael McElhatton

With his 2009 film Sherlock Holmes, Guy Ritchie showed how his style could work when applied to a popular character. The result was a decent flick that may hold imperfections, but carries enough panache and believable camaraderie to sell this take on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's literary favourite. The result isn't as clear cut this time around, with an indecisive feel as to what this take should be like.

After the murder of his parents, Arthur (Charlie Hunnam) is found by prostitutes and raised on the streets of Londinium. He's unaware of his status as the rightful ruler of England, until he pulls a mystical sword out of stone. After that, he joins a band of outlaws, working to overthrow Vortigern (Jude Law), the current King of England and Arthur's treacherous uncle.

Long after viewing the film, it remains murky as to what the intention was here. Did Guy Ritchie want the typical geezer flick he's used to making, complete with dizzying editing, his usual dialogue of choice, and ridiculously named characters like Kung Fu George, Wetstick and Goosefat Bill? Or does he want a bloated CGfest, which comes with action scenes which are difficult to make out, resembles video game cutscenes, and ultimately feels like a subpar Lord of the Rings ripoff? Ritchie never decides, and the film suffers for it, with the two elements feeling at odds with one another.

Image result for king arthur legend of the sword youtubeGranted, picking one or the other wouldn't have solved all of the problems. Montages are substituted for actual character growth and development within the story, leaving a rushed feeling to the story. At least the performances are decent, with Jude Law gleefully chewing the scenery, and Charlie Hunnam delivering a convincing performance in the title role. There is one glaring exception, though.

David Beckham makes a cameo appearance, and the result is utterly dreadful. Lacking decent line delivery and any capability to make convincing enough expressions, any hopes for a future in acting are in dire need of taking some lessons. But it says something that this awful attempt isn't the films worst aspect.

Would King Arthur: Legend of the Sword have worked better if the three scriptwriters coordinated their efforts a bit better? It's difficult to say, but the end result so far has been a cinematic mess with an identity crisis. It wouldn't cause many a sleepless night if Guy Ritchie was unable to make his five planned sequels.