No Magic in King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

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King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

So there's this movie about a guy named Arthur. He's the rightful son of a guy named Uther, who was the King. But Uther got dethroned, and nobody knew where Arthur was. There was a sword in a stone that nobody could pull out, and some stuff about fights with Merlin and Modred.

And if you squinted at it, you might think you were watching a remake of the story of King Arthur. But Guy Ritchie's KING ARTHUR: LEGEND OF THE SWORD has pretty much an "in name only" acquaintance with the works of Thomas Mallory or T.H. White.

In this version, Arthur is found as a child, floating in the river like Moses in the bulrushes. He's raised by the women who operate a brothel, and grows up on the streets learning how to fight and steal, unaware of his lineage. Meanwhile, his evil uncle, Vortigern (JUDE LAW), has taken over the throne and continues to oppress the people and build some giant magical tower that will give him absolute power, yada yada yada. He just needs the sword to complete his goals, so he has every man of age in the country attempt to pull it, branding them when they fail so everyone knows they had their shot, as he looks for the rightful heir--so he can kill him.

Of course Arthur pulls the sword. He's then imprisoned, gets out with the help of a mage (ASTRID BERGES-FRISBEY), and continues to deny he's the one to rule the country. He even is taken to Skull Island (not called that, but it's full of giant bugs and enormous snakes) just to fight his way to a place where he can be granted magical understanding--and even that doesn't take.

Ultimately he accepts who he is, fights Vortigern, tower falls, round table established, yada yada yada.

There are good scenes here, to be sure. Ritchie establishes a pattern of dialogue through rapid-fire questioning and flashbacks that is fun to watch, especially the way CHARLIE HUNNAM delivers it. But sometimes what we see at machine gun speed would have made for more adventure than what we got. Even the battle against the monstrous animals took less than a few minutes, as we jump from the point where he must go to the point where he has gotten back and it's all told in cuts and flashes.

Visually, KING ARTHUR: LEGEND OF THE SWORD is a lot of black highlighted with flecks of orange flame. It's like a Uwe Boll take on Camelot. Ultimately, it's been done better. This one has entertaining bits, but it's just not an entertaining movie.

2.5 / 5.0