Before I begin let me just say that I feel like I have a pretty good grasp on Arthurian legend, and despite watching the movie and reading the plot online I’m still not sure what I just witnessed. Let’s just dive in, shall we?
The plot in its simplest form is the reluctant hero (Charlie Hunnam) who must choose between being a the bouncer at a brothel and king. I’m not joking. So much happens in the first five minutes that it leaves you reeling, but that might be the twenty quick cuts you have to sit through. Where to start? How to start? Some quick backstory perhaps.
Uther Pendragon, the current holder of the mystical blade Excalibur, puts the crown in the hands of his brother Vortigern (Jude Law) while he goes off the battle Mordred.
Pope Vortigern, being the younger brother that he is, covets his brother’s throne and conspires with sea witches to obtain power. He kills his wife to summon a demon knight who kills Uther and his wife while Arthur escapes into the night.
I’m still not sure I understood that correctly.
Oh, and Aiden Gillen plays the same character as he does in “Game of Thrones” only his name is Goosefat and he can handle a bow.
Now let’s ignore the fact that so far, none of this matches to actual Arthurian legend. The plot from here only thickens into goopy black tar that’s hard to escape. Guy Ritchie is too busy writing The Reluctant Hero Handbook™ to create a cohesive plot that is only held together by Hunnam narrating step for step his outlandish plans or even what he did in the morning. Don’t get me wrong, it’s very entertaining the first time, and I love a sarcastic main character. Swoon. But the schtick quickly loses its charm.
In fact the movie as a whole relies on Arthurian witticisms and elaborate fight sequences on a digital backdrop. Much like Arthur’s devil may care attitude, the fights are all that keep you interested. As a lover of the classic stories, I found myself missing Merlin’s wisdom, Guinevere and Arthur’s romance, and um I don’t know the round table? Sure it makes a quick cameo in the end, but they gave David Beckham more screen time than the iconic Camelot staple.
This movie is not good, plain and simple. A few bright spots here and there, but as a whole it’s just lost in the lake with Excalibur. The film was slated to be the beginning of a six-film franchise, though it’s obvious that Ritchie will be lucky if gets a sequel. Then again with Mordred dead in the first five minutes, who would Arthur have to kill?