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King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (2017): A Review

Have you ever felt like you might be completely insane?

Because that’s how I’m feeling about King Arthur: Legend of the Sword.

Looking across the Internet, the word on this movie is pretty much very not good. A Metacritic score of 41. A Rotten Tomatoes score of a VERY rotten 27%.

I guess I’m part of the 27%, then?

For reasons unknown to many, including myself, this movie was seen as the beginning of a SIX MOVIE saga. Weird, right? I think it’s a given that won’t be happening, but what I can appreciate is the surreal, stylish and completely ridiculous movie we did get.

Taking the Arthurian legend and turning it on its head, director Guy Richie takes every ounce of overwhelming style and fast-cutting insanity he’s able to muster and throws it at the screen.

Sons of Anarchy’s Charlie Hunnam is Arthur for this latest remake, and his version is a bit different. He’s street-wise, he wears fur coats, he’s got a sweet beard. Thankfully, he doesn’t have Hunnam’s terrible American accent holding him back.

His father killed before him, Arthur does not realize or achieve his true destiny until he pulls the fabled Excalibur from the stone (I’m realizing now that I don’t entirely recall if the sword is called such by name, but I digress) – and it turns out that very sword allows him to go all Super Saiyan, which perturbs the current king – a scenery chewing, monologuing-like-his-life-depended-on-it Jude Law.

You know where this is going – Arthur lives up to his name and restores order and justice. What you don’t know is how it gets there – which is through the magic of countless montages, witty and silly dialogue, and a pretty great score by Daniel Pemberton. (Seriously, check out his theme for the movie.)

I’m pretty sure that this movie undertook many many edits, as King Jude Law (yeah, he had a name, but who cares) clearly goes through a number of variants of his evil plan, and I think his daughter was meant to be more important than she was, and I’m not sure, but I think Merlin is female in this one (but it’s not made clear), but despite all of that confusion – the style of it all charms.

I admit – I’m totally in the bag for Guy Richie. I loved Snatch and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, I still enjoy his Sherlock Holmes movies, even if Sherlock did a better modern version, and I swear that too many of you slept on The Man from UNCLE. That said, this is King Arthur viewed through the prism of too many video games – in all the best and worst ways.

Yeah, it’s grimy, yeah, it’s not terribly colorful, but if you dug God of War or Shadows of Mordor, you’ll probably enjoy the hell out of this.

It sounds like faint praise, but were I 13, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword would be my favorite movie. As it stands, I’m nearly 20 years older, and I still had a lot of fun.

Catch it on a matinee or VOD, check your brain, and enjoy the sheer audacity of it all – I’m sure there will be a cult of King Arthur: Legend of the Sword one day.

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword is in theaters now.

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