KING ARTHUR: LEGEND OF THE SWORD | REVIEW

When originally pitched : LEGEND OF THE SWORD to the studio he said he wanted to make a LORD OF THE RINGS styled Arthur tale crossed with SNATCH. They were in and gave him $175mil, heard this and offered to literally fight for his role in the movie because that’s a movie he wanted to see. KING ARTHUR: LEGEND OF THE SWORD is currently bombing in the U.S. and is being torn to shreds by critics on Rotten Tomatoes. On Rotten Tomatoes it is on 26%, that is considered atrocious. But if you head on over to IMDB the user scores have it at 7.4/10 – oddly the other 74% on IMDB think it’s awesome. I am astounded it is copping diatribe – I bloody LOVED this movie. It releases tomorrow, May 18th, in Australia from Roadshow. It is rated M and runs for 126mins.

 

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Charlie Hunnam image
JK’s boyfriend

 

BY JASON KING

KING ARTHUR: LEGEND OF THE SWORD PLOT:

If you are a dedicated Arthurian do not see this movie, you will be in physical pain at the divergence from official canon. Director Guy Ritchie, and four other writers, have changed this story to the point of being unrecognisable. It is truly a Guy Ritchie stamped movie being a LORD OF THE RINGS, GAME OF THRONES, WORLD OF WARCRAFT, ROBIN HOOD, SNATCHED kind of movie. There is no Merlin and there is no Guinivere. Merlin isn’t raised in a castle, he’s raised in a brothel. The sword is more powerful than a lightsaber and gives the Pendragon who wields it ultimate power.

Arthur’s uncle sided with an all powerful evil mage and murdered Uther and his wife, with child Arthur escaped and floating down river in a boat for his safety. He is found by prostitutes washing on the river’s edge and raised in a brothel. He becomes street smart and learns all the ways of street fighting, survival and cunning. While Arthur is growing up uncle Vortigern has become self proclaimed King and rules the country by fear. He will sacrifice anything for power. When the waters recede at the bottom of the castle revealing the Pendragon sword in the stone he sets about getting every man of age to try and remove the sword. The one who removes it will be the true King and Vortigern will then kill him immediately thus solidifying his claim to the crown.

 

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Jude Law image

 

WHY HAS IT FAILED??

I am astounded the movie has failed. It was meant to be the start of a 5x FILM franchise and I am sad we will not see more. Why has it failed? I truly have no idea. One guess is that it’s so removed from Arthurian legend people have cracked the shits. Could it also be poor marketing? It can’t be because people don’t love Hunnam – he is so goddamn gorgeous and has cult status for .

One review I have read claims it failed because it has no women in it. “How can an Arthur movie succeed with no Guinevere?” I say bollocks to that. It is so loosely based on Arthur it should be viewed as another movie. Further to that, arguably the most powerful character in the movie is a female mage. And Arthur protects a bunch of prostitutes who worship him, they are family, the only family he has known. All women.

GUY RITCHIE AND HIS SIGNATURE:

As far as I am concerned this is the best fantasy movie since LORD OF THE RINGS. The production qualities are epic. The opening montage is one of the best I have seen and sets the tone for a movie that delivers. It is action packed from go to woe, it is heavily branded in Ritchie’s style, it is packed with dry humour, heroics, great set pieces and CGI that will blow your mind. I thought it was better than THE HOBBIT and it shits all over WARCRAFT. Another thing I could see that would hurt the movie is the fact that’s it’s HEAVILY skewed towards a male audience.

There is no romance so women (and gay gents with fine taste) will not see Hunnam naked, he literally turned down 50 SHADES to make this haha. And it is highly possible that women in relationships will have final say on what to view for date night. They will not select this because it’s too testosterone flooded. It may explain why SNATCHED beat this out on opening weekend.

For me, Ritchie nails it. His fast paced shooting and dialogue is awesome to see again and you will notice bits of all his other movies in this.

 

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Astrid Bergès-Frisbey image

 

COOL FUN FACTS:

The first time I saw Charlie Hunnam on screen he was about sixteen and having anal sex in QUEER AS FOLK with Aidan Gillan, they reunite in this and I squealed a bit. Katie McGrath who was Morgana on the MERLIN TV show is in this as Elsa, the wife of Vortigern (). Great seeing her back in the Pendragon castle, also cool again for Gillan, it suits Little Finger to be in medieval shows.

Charlie Hunnam was emaciated and had lost about 10kgs for the last season of SONS OF ANARCHY. During auditions, director Guy Ritchie was very bothered by his look, though he liked his performance, and asked him four times during the process about his poor physique and what was the heaviest he had been. Hunnam said that when Ritchie brought up the fourth time, he knew that the physicality of Arthur was very important to Ritchie. He promised him that he would get into incredible shape for Arthur and to prove his fitness for the part and even offered to physically fight the other two finalists, Henry Cavill and Jai Courtney. Hunnam told Ritchie……

“Look, dude, you keep bringing this up, the physicality. It’s obviously your primary concern. So if you want to do away with all this auditioning bollocks, I’ll f***ing fight those other two dudes. I know who they are. You can bring them both in here. I’ll fight them both. The one who walks out the door gets the job.” -Charlie Hunnam-

Hunnam won the role after this.

THE CAST:

All fantastic, not much I can fault. It is Hunnam’s best leading role, after SONS OF ANARCHY. He has so much latent talent hidden inside that he rarely brings out. He appears too serious in most of his roles, he should try and do a romcom soon. It’s the same with Leonardo these days. When Hunnam relaxes and lets out humour and cheekiness, he owns the screen. When he was younger, same with Leo, he was so bloody funny and more open on screen. KING ARTHUR: THE LEGEND OF THE SWORD is definitely his least wooden performance and I hope we get more of him soon.

Jude Law nails it as always, he is so natural at what he does, I would have like to have seen him more evil. When he felt regret at some of his decisions it went against his character. He needed to be more black and white evil and less in the grey area. There was also no real motivation to why he wanted to be evil, besides the need for power.

 

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Charlie Hunnam image

 

IN CONCLUSION:

Each to their own, I suppose, but I judge everyone who dislikes KING ARTHUR: LEGEND OF THE SWORD. It is the best fantasy movie since LORD OF THE RINGS. And somewhat massages my old love of WORLD OF WARCRAFT with my ongoing love for GAME OF THRONES. It’s a high octane Ritchie rock and roll testosterone packed gamers fantasy wet dream and I wish more people loved it. I will own it on Blu Ray.

 

 

 

YOUR CRITIC:

 owns, writes and edits Salty Popcorn and Spooning Australia. He is a movie, food, restaurant, wine, chocolate, bacon, burger and brussels sprouts addict. He is a member of the Australian Film Critics Association and has been in the  industry for 26yrs. Furthermore he loves watching people trip over and is Leonardo DiCaprio’s biggest fan. 

 

** Images used are courtesy of various sources on Google or direct from the distributor or publisher. Credit has been given to photographers where known – images will be removed on request.