I can’t say I was all that excited about sitting through another retelling of the King Arthur story. I was never a big fan of Art to begin with and Monty Python made the only truly great movie on the subject and it was, you know, a farce.
But this version was going to be by Guy Ritchie, and he’s usually reliable, plus the only other option was an Amy Schumer movie, and I like her even less than King Arthur, so what can you do?
“King Arthur: Legend of the Sword” opens with a fairly spectacular battle scene involving giant elephants. King Uther (Eric Bana) is at war with the evil magician Mordred, who is quickly put down thanks to the magic sword Excalibur. But there’s not much time for celebrating as the king is quickly betrayed and murdered by his brother Vortigern (Jude Law). Uther’s son escapes and grows up hard and smart on the mean streets of Londinium.
Arthur (Charlie Hunnam) has a decent life in Londinium until King Vortigern’s men arrive to round up all the men Arthur’s age to see if any of them can pull a particular sword out of a stone. Yes, Excalibur once again got stuck in a rock after the former king’s death. Vortigern knows the true king’s heir is out there somewhere and wants to find him and deal with him.
Once the young man’s heritage is revealed, Arthur is forced to lead a revolution that he wants no part of. Among those helping him along the way are Sir Bedivere (Djimon Hounsou) and an unnamed Merlin substitute (Astrid Berges-Frisbey).
I rather enjoyed “King Arthur: Etc., etc. etc.” as I was watching it, although it did seem to run long even though it was your standard 2-hour film. But the more distance I put between it, the more dumb and common it seemed. There are elements of director Ritchie’s trademark flash and clever dialogue, but not enough. The cast is fine and the effects are impressive and there’s plenty of gorgeous scenery.
It’s an OK movie and fun in the moment, but it’s lacking something — magic, maybe?