The legend of King Arthur and Excalibur is an amazing tale of a child born of royal blood who, after discovering his lineage, must reclaim his throne which rightfully belongs to him. As for the 2017 film starring Charlie Hunnam as King Arthur, it is mediocre at best. The film, directed by Guy Ritchie, falls a bit short from capturing the incredible tale, as there isn’t enough to make this an outstanding picture, despite some positives in the film such as Jude Law’s performance and the magical elements of the story.
As the first fifteen minutes of the film begin we are taken into a world filled with knights, kings, mages and dangerous beasts. The kingdom under rule of Arthur’s father, Uther Pendragon (Eric Bana), is under attack by a powerful havoc-wreaking mage. With the power of the fabled sword Excalibur, the king succeeds but soon is betrayed by his selfish and power-hungry brother King Vortigern (Jude Law), which causes Pendragon to send off Arthur away from death.
The beginning of the film is definitely the most dramatic and grabs the audience’s attention, with the opening fight scenes and Pendragon triumphing all just to get backstabbed by his brother. However, that is the last moment where we see something as engaging or highly dramatic because the rest of the film is reduced to dullness. To add, the special effects only consist of flashes of lights and forces of wind blowing through the air. Really, the animal-possessing mage is the only highlight In the special effects apartment.
The plot of the film follows a chronological sequence that seems to be rushed too quickly: After Arthur is cast away he is discovered and taken to a brothel and in a matter of a few minutes he grows up into a young adult, literally going from his growth into an adult to getting caught by Vortigern’s men to pulling the sword. And before you know it, there’s already a resistance looking to take down Vortigern and build a new, better kingdom. Even the scenes that are meant to be the most dramatic don’t have enough suspense to get a reaction out of the audience. It mostly all ends up being highly predictable.
The final fight scene of the film also falls short from doing an exceptional job. The film establishes the power that both the hero and villain hold, and the close-ups on Arthur swinging Excalibur, colliding and creating flashes of light with every blow is visually appealing. But this gets ruined by how easily and quickly the fight finishes — not as exciting as one would hope.
I will say there are a few well-executed parts of the film, such as Law’s role as King Vortigern. In the scenes where he appears we see just exactly how twisted and power-hungry he is. In order for him to rise to power he has to go against his own morals and the people he loves. In some scenes we see how exactly it takes effect on him as he cries and appears pitiful during the more devastating measures he takes. Nonetheless, he still proves that all he truly cares about is power as he gains status as king and becomes this giant egotistical prick intoxicated by the power he holds.
His emotionless face, upright posture and stern voice help give him that impression that he is a cold-hearted dictator. And when he orders his generals into combat we hear the tone of his voice, demanding as he sounds we get the idea that he will not accept failure, making him a serious threat to those that are against him. And he makes sure to prove that by showing no mercy to his enemies.
However, the same can’t be said about Hunnam’s role, as Arthur just seems one dimensional and there isn’t much to his character. He doesn’t seem to possess any emotions other than anger and we don’t see any likeable characteristics or connections between other characters to make good judgement. But in the end we see him triumph and gain vengeance from those who fallen for him.
Verdict: “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword” is a mediocre attempt at capturing the legendary tale of King Arthur and Excalibur. It falls short in many areas,does well in a few others, but overall has too many faults to make it an enjoyable watch.