King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
Length: 126 minutes / 2.1 hours
Years ago, I watched Guy Ritchie’s first film, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998). I thoroughly enjoyed the comedic repartee, well-paced action, and simple heist scenario. Afterward, I decided to watch the rest of his films (omitting Swept Away (2002) for obvious reasons). Films like Snatch (2000) and RocknRolla (2008) held very similar premises, but even in his other films like Revolver (2005), you could see the distinctive style Ritchie has when he shoots his films. In hindsight, not all of these films are great, but they were certainly entertaining for me.
Enter Sherlock Holmes (2009), and this big-budget film gave Guy Ritchie a bit more mainstream attention, as it also sported Robert Downey Jr. on a career hot streak. The striking visual style remained, which also helped in the sequel, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011). Because I also enjoyed the 60’s period piece, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015), I was equally excited for King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (2017). After all, Ritchie had shown he knew how to do action in his previous films, and a story centering around King Arthur and Excalibur would likely have a lot of action.
When I finally saw King Arthur, I wanted to like it more. Sure, there were fragments of Guy Ritchie’s style in this film, including an occasional bit of dialogue back-and-forth, some quintessentially Ritchie cinematography, and a few fantastic action sequences, but it just felt flat concerning the plot. Half the time, I had no idea what the characters’ motivations were, or what they were trying to accomplish, and I had a pretty basic understanding of the Arthurian legend going into this movie. Perhaps the reason it wasn’t as entertaining as I wanted was that it wasn’t a buddy film. The constant, humorous dialogue between characters is truly what makes a Ritchie film great, and this movie had barely any of it at all.
A vehicle for a handful of intense Excalibur action sequences, I give King Arthur: Legend of the Sword 3.0 stars out of 5.