Poor Guy Ritchie. The guy can’t catch a break after Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (which I thought was fine). I mean, The Man from U.N.C.L.E was unbelievably forgettable, and was such a box office disaster; I thought he wouldn’t get to make another movie for a while. Luckily, some studio had faith in him, now we can see his interpretation of one of England’s most famous legends. Unfortunately, you’ll be wishing they never pulled the sword from the paper mache stone after watching the end result.
To its credit, King Arthur is the most visually interesting Ritchie film (after Sherlock Holmes) I’ve seen. Oh, I’m not talking about the F/X (which look unbelievably cheap); I mean the sets, costumes, and some of the cinematography. Good thing too, because the characters are bland as white bread. While Charlie Hunam gives a decent performance, I can’t remember anyone from the movie, probably because the screenwriters used token “adventure” clichés as characters. It would be easy to list them off, but I’d rather talk about the worst one: Arthur himself. Instead of being a bad*** swordfighter whose strong-willed, diligent personality never surrenders; Arthur is reduced to the “reluctant hero” trope. Mhm, the most tedious version of “the chosen one” plotline is our protagonist for 2 incredibly long hours. If that wasn’t enough, his backstory is exactly the same as the story of Moses (there is even a scene where he’s sent down a river in a basket as a baby). Oy, these characters are forgettable.
It’s a shame really. There are moments of classic Ritchie brilliance (an interrogation scene in particular is hilarious), the music and production is cool, and when the movie actually wants to be awesome, it is. I don’t know much about King Arthur lore, aside from that line in Tomb Raider: Legend where Alister states that Excalibur and the Sword in the Stone were, “Two bloody different stories!” What I can tell you is that this movie’s bland story is not saved by a neutered PG-13 rating and a lack of satisfying action sequences. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword gets Guy’s Guru Grade of a C+.