The tale of King Arthur, and all surrounding mythology, is an adventure that’s been around for generations. Whether it’s Merlin, the sword of Excalibur or the Knights of the Round Table, it’d be quite surprising, and somewhat depressing, if you were unfamiliar with anything to do with Arthur’s lore. His tale has become legend, and legends never die. They just get retold over and over with varying degrees of quality. But here we are with King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, the first of a supposed six film franchise (ha! Good luck with that) recreating Arthur’s timeless life story. There’s no weird old wizards with long grey beards here, folks. There is, however, a bombardment of the strange and unusual, all coming together to make for one of the strangest, most energetic incarnations of the story yet. It’s familiar through and through, but even for those, such as myself, who have seen and read this story dozens of times, there’s a surprising freshness to it.
Yeah, okay, so if that brief one paragraph plot description sounds familiar it’s probably because it is. When you’re dealing with a story that’s been told over and over again for longer than any one of us has been alive, the general gist of things is going to feel far from fresh. And it doesn’t. You know the ultimate outcome of this film. The title itself is a spoiler, but it’s a spoiler that’s impossible to hide, and one the filmmakers are able to have a little bit of fun with. Legend of the Sword is a new and exciting interpretation on Arthur’s origin story, crafting a version of the character that’s still got a lot to learn in the ways of the world, and this process goes down in typical Guy Ritchie fashion. Through seemingly endless montages and an overabundance of cutbacks, the upbringings and trainings of Arthur are detailed in full and executed with Ritchie’s famous stylistic approach to filmmaking.
This over-plotting provides even further frustration when its many sub-plots take the centre stage. I honestly can’t tell you why half of this film even happened. Even then, not all of them hit as hard as they should. There’s certain aspects of the plot that revel in their own inherent madness, bringing some of the funniest and most audacious moments to the big screen, but it’s soon followed up with… talking. And more talking. And then a little more talking. Sure, Guy Ritchie is known for his snappy, fast talk approach to dialogue-heavy scenes, and when he shines he shines, but the overall film is far too light on action and heavy on dialogue. Granted, the action sequences aren’t overly exciting, nor easy to watch either, so in return a great deal of the dialogue heavy moments do result in a more entertaining scene. Plus, the actors are allowed to go wild, and everyone involved delivers one hell of a performance, Law in particular.
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