Could you ever imagine what King Arthur would’ve looked like if he had a swagger to him with a dapper haircut to go with his walk and attitude? Well, Guy Ritchie did.
Now, you’d think that this would be the most absurd portrayal of the legend by a director who screwed up his career with the likes of Sherlock Holmes but you’d be surprised of how well that Ritchie magic holds up to this modern storytelling of the man behind the sword.
We all know the legends from the tales of old – a worthy king pulls the mystical sword of Excalibur out of stone, making him the rightful ruler of England and hence birthed the greatest medieval leader of all time.
To this day, this story has been told by many people in the most elaborate ways, yet none of them can be deemed true as the legends still remain a mystery.
Now how fun is that for you, as a director, to play around with as you see fit?!
Guy Ritchie has a signature style that I quite like after watching Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch that surprisingly translates well into this sixth century setting.
To judge this movie from its trailer was a mistake I made as much as many of you probably have as well but after sitting through the first half of the movie, I kind of nestled with the idea and went with it.
Sure, the speech and certain aesthetics of the characters weren’t accurate to the century but given that this was a GUY RITCHIE portrayal of a legend that has no true form – I’ll take it.
Charlie Hunnam was another surprise to me as the last time I saw him was in Del Toro’s Crimson Peak and though I have doubts about his acting capabilities in portraying a royal figure from an ancient time, his typecast was fitting to THIS version of King Arthur.
The brash, cocky, and borderline chav qualities in his character was enough to keep you interested in his development, but for you ladies, I’m pretty sure his rockin’ bod was enough to start you off.
Hunnam’s portrayal gives Arthur this bad boy swagger and bravado to what traditionally would not have worked for such a classic tale. Yet, Ritchie provides such a grounded perspective that it makes you forget about it in exchange for such a hard driven story.
The pacing is fast, getting you through the otherwise boring elements of an origin story – the training montage, plot planning and necessary character development in true Ritchie fashion. The focus is constantly directed where its needed, whether that’s on Arthur, Vortigern, the mystic arts or even Excalibur itself.
That’s what I kind of enjoyed most in this movie, at how it paces itself well enough to keep you in excitement without leaving you behind on the facts you need to know before the next scene.
Much of that pacing is attributed to the music as well. Heavy strokes of strings paired with banging drum beats gets your adrenaline rushing before the moments happen and by the time you’re there, your eyes are too busy keeping up with the flairs of that cinematic magic.
Jude Law’s Vortigern deserves a worthy mention as well. His performance as the main antagonist really shines as one of the most menacing characters you could ever see on scene. Though lacking in lines, Law was able to bring out his darkside from sheer facial expressions in such short moments – from dreaded jealousy to great despair in some of the powerful scenes in the movie.
The action in this movie was approached from quite an interesting concept, which may seem familiar to those coming from a gamer background.
The third act leading to the final felt so reminiscent of a boss battle from Dark Souls or even For Honor that you can’t help but feel like you’re button mashing those inputs on screen. The angles were so up-close and personal that every special effect would glare into your eyes as they peered through to the next move.
This excitement kept me so pumped that I carried it away with me at the end of the movie. On top of that, I wished I had my own Excalibur to slash right through enemies! (I guess I’ll have to find a VR game to accommodate me for now.)
Overall, Ritchie does delivery a story that successfully tells the tale of a well-thought out vision of a classic. It combines the “facts” with a Hollywood exaggeration to make the story work and as the special effects and mysticality come into play, it all comes out as one of the most entertaining blockbusters I’ve seen this year. I enjoyed his British humour in the dialogues and plot settings as much as I was in awe of the sword fights and chase scenes that really made this an all-rounder for what was initially a no expectations venture.
It may not be accurate or right to its timeline, but King Arthur: Legend of the Sword really made me think he was that dapper.