I remember in 2012 when John Carter came out and flopped hard amidst critical bashing and disappointment from most of the general movie goers. However, it did manage to develop some kind of a following throughout the years just like The 13th Warrior did from 1998. John Carter was a mess and not a very cohesive picture, but none the less it was entertaining and I thought it was watchable. It made up for its glaring faults by being a pure guilty pleasure. Something that the King Arthur: Legend of the Sword didn’t even manage to be. In fact, this new version of King Arthur is so disappointing that it makes the 2004 version starring Clive Owen looks like an epic masterpiece in comparison.
In this version, Arthur (played by the rising star Charlie Hunnam from The Lost city of Z and Pacific Rim) barely escapes his evil uncle (played by the great Jude Law) in his childhood years, and after he realizes who he is, and with the help of some loyal friends, he decides to save the kingdom and reclaim his slain father’s throne. As expected, Jude Law’s performance is the only redeeming feature in this flick along with some decent supporting performances from Eric Bana and Aidan Gillen. Law is good in playing a menacing soul, plus his level of comfort in front of the camera rises above all the other performances. There are a few visually attractive scenes but nothing special or ground breaking and certainly nothing close to saving this film from its huge failures.
Unfortunately, director Guy Ritchie’s (his recent efforts include The Man from U.N.C.L.E and Sherlock Holmes) energetic style and quick cutting is not right for this type of movie. His rapid approach kills any chance of establishing well rounded characters and to make things worse the screenplay is a mixed bag of comedy, action, fantasy, and I don’t know what else. The action scenes are devoid of any excitement while the huge epic scenes are second rate visual extravaganzas that are not even on par with the 15-year-old scenes from The Lord of the Rings trilogy. The characters are shallow, the story is a mess, and even most of the fantasy elements are forced without any sense of story.
This $175 million movie might break even if it managed to do well outside North America, and I am sure that the producers are praying for that to happen because I don’t really understand how this movie was made with such a big budget in the first place. They have to do some aggressive marketing because word of mouth is not going to help them much. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword is simply a huge misfire and I cannot find much to recommend about it unless you want to check it out to see how bad it is. I had some good laughs in this one and you might find yourself laughing too, not because of any funny scenes, but because of how unbelievably bad it is.
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