One thing I’ve learned in my 30+ years of going to movies is to try and keep your expectations in check. If you set them too high, there is a very good chance disappointment will follow. If you go into a movie with low expectations, you may be pleasantly surprised and enjoy it more than you thought. Unfortunately for King Arthur, I went in with low expectations – and it actually wound up being worse than anticipated.
This prequel to the classic King Arthur tale follows him from a young boy to when he takes the crown. Arthur’s father, Uther, was the great King of England. Uther’s brother Vortigern (Law) does not approve of the peace Uther seeks, so he forges a demonic alliance to destroy him. Uther manages to save Arthur before his end, and the young boy is raised in far away village. Many years later, Vortigern is the much feared king and Arthur (Hunnam) has grown into a tough young man. The king is searching the countryside to find Arthur, the true heir to the throne, who will be the one who can remove the legendary sword Excalibur from a stone. Once found, Vortigern will kill him and then become the one true king. When Arthur manages to remove the sword, he escapes captivity and a battle between the false and real king begins.
Director Guy Ritchie is known as a very stylish director, and it usually suits him. The way he films even the most normal scenes can be very cool. Unfortunately this time it was more of a distraction. The whole movie seems to be filmed like a rock video, and the result isn’t that easy to watch (especially in 3D). The acting is also quite poor. Jude Law, who is usually very good, hams it up so bad here I can honestly say this may be the worst performance of his career. And Hunnam just isn’t leading man material. Even on Sons of Anarchy he was consistently the worst part of the show. He truly isn’t a very good actor, and Hollywood needs to stop trying to make him happen.
Medieval movies are notorious for flopping. They tend to be quite costly, and very rarely turn a profit. Very few over the last 20 to 30 years have actually proved to be successful. The last time the title character had his own movie, it wound up being one of the biggest flops of 2004. Why Hollywood keeps churning out these types of movies is beyond me.
This new version of King Arthur may be the first big budget summer movie in a few years that I had very little interest in seeing. I tried to find things that would appeal to me, and I went in with low expectations. Sadly, no matter how hard I tried I just couldn’t get into it. Aside from a couple fun fight scenes, there is nothing I can recommend about this.