HOLLYWOOD—I’m not really a fan of period pieces, especially those that have been reincarnated time and time again. However, those venturing into the theater to witness “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword” might be surprised with the outcome. The flick which has seen its release date changed multiple times in the recent months (four times total), is far more entertaining and popcorn fun than viewers may suspect.
This new chapter in the ever-popular franchise, is helmed by director Guy Ritchie who has some success behind the camera, but many might recall his work “Sherlock Holmes” (2009) and “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows.” Both flicks that present a level of insanity in the narrative that works well in an action flick if you ask me.
This take on Arthur delves into a backstory of course, with the audience learning a bit about our hero’s heritage from the slums to greatness. We learn that Arthur (Charlie Hunnam) was left an orphan after his uncle Vortigern (Jude Law) murdered Arthur’s parents in a quest to rise to the ranks to conquer Mordred. Law is fantastic in this villainous role, where he takes no mercy against anyone, not even his own blood.
Law is one of the reasons that “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword” works so well. This is a flick where the antagonist is a formidable foe to our protagonist, who doubts his abilities, even though he knows after touching that sword, everything changes. Hunnam brings a level of charm, and quiet intensity to a character that is flawed and not just virtuous as so many previous entries in to the franchise have weaved for the audience.
Medieval pieces like “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword” are not the easiest forms of entertainment. Rather it’s the drag in narrative at times, that Old English dialogue that isn’t the easiest to comprehend or just the notion of all followers and no leaders that is seen time and time again. Does this flick have strands of that DNA? Yes, but with Ritchie directorial touch it brings a new element to the franchise that does indeed make a treat to watch on the big screen.
Hunnam is quite fantastic in the title role because the script does not address him as a hero right away. It’s a journey that takes place over many years, and as with most flicks, our hero doubts his abilities, but with the nudging from the people around him he starts to embrace his destiny. There are a few moments in the flick where things lag slightly, but it’s a progressive build-up of action people. I mean watching that scene where Arthur FINALLY takes that sword and utilizes it for all the power that it wields is epic. The visual effects and frantic directorial/editing tactics that Ritchie utilizes makes one feel absolutely immersed in the movie.
“King Arthur: Legend of the Sword” really delivers a full-fledged tale of our hero, not to mention an enthralling narrative and visual effects that are quite frankly something of a revelation on the big screen in quite some time.