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MOVIE REVIEW: FTN reviews King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

May 15th, 2017 by Andrew McCarroll Comments

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
Directed by: Guy Ritchie
Starring: Charlie Hunnam, Àstrid Bergès-Frisbey, Djimon Hounsou, Aidan Gillen, Jude Law, Eric Bana
Release date: May 19, 2017
Running time: 126 minutes

“When the legend becomes fact, print the legend”
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

Winning the role on the back of offering to fight the other two finalists, Henry Cavill and Jai Courtney, Charlie Hunnam carries this fighting spirit into the role of Guy Richie’s King Arthur and begins to deliver on the promise he had shown in his mesmeric performance as Jax Teller in Sons of Anarchy.

Back in the familiar territory of playing the son unwillingly thrust into following his father’s legacy, Hunnam shows he has the leading man charisma that wasn’t on display in his previous outings Pacific Rim and Crimson Peak.

Nicely balancing between angry young man and charming rogue, he shows that with the right role he can learn from the mistakes of Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul who continues to languish in the shadows of his breakout role.

Beginning with a scene that looks more like Lord of the Rings than the Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Swords that most audience members walking into a Guy Richie film would expect, Richie is a director that enjoys playing with perception (less than half the movies on his CV are gangster films).

The film settles into the search for the missing “born king” who escapes an earlier assassination attempt by being floated down the river like a medieval Moses. I say settle but this being a Guy Richie film it starts at a sprint and never lets up.

We are introduced to Arthur’s band of merry men which includes Aidan Gillen who, once you get past the accent he brought back from season 4 of Game of Thrones and can’t seem to shake, is wildly entertaining as Goosefat Bill.

Oh, and few can play an entitled dick quite like Jude Law who swaggers and sneers through the film as the villainous Vortigern.

All this said, the film is not without its problems: David Beckham’s cameo ruins a pivotal scene of the film so badly you can almost hear the sound of the film screeching to a halt so you can gaze at the car wreck unfolding before your eyes. Watching his dead-eyed smile, through what is supposed to be a serious scene made me wish for an end-credits outtake montage where I could see just how bad he was if that was the take that made the final cut.

There is also a lot of Richie’s hyper dialogue and a few action scenes that borrow heavily from the 300 school of slow-down/speed-up violence.

That is nit picking on a film which delivers action, excitement and humour throughout while never threatening to outstay its welcome.

The film will inevitably draw comparisons with the director’s previous adaptation of a known classic Sherlock Holmes but it actually has more in common with the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie.

In a time where summer blockbusters are tripping over themselves to be dark, gritty and serious, King Arthur makes no illusions about what it is, a raucously entertaining popcorn muncher of a film.

4 out of 5 Nerds

Andrew McCarroll never quite built on the dizzying career heights that he hit at 6 years old, when as a member of the “Ghostbusters” he would charge his neighbours to remove any unwanted spectres. Now retired from slaying spooks, he spends his time obsessing over superheroes (especially Batman) and devouring shows like Dexter, Game of Thrones and Archer in a manner that would make Galactus proud. You can follow his rants on twitter @andymc1983