For a hero as epic and legendary as King Arthur, constantly using montages makes him rather underwhelming. Writer/director Guy Ritchie seems content with that in “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword.”
If you’ve seen “Hamlet,” “The Lion King,” “Sons of Anarchy,” or “Man of Steel,” you already know the plot of “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword.” Arthur (Charlie Hunnam) is the son of a deceased king and must fight his tyrannical uncle (Jude Law) for the throne. With Excalibur and some loyal sidekicks, he discovers his full potential.
Guy Ritchie is a talented, energetic director who’s known for witty dialogue and energetic montages. Given most of the dialogue is exposition and the montages are redundant, “Legend of the Sword” is neither as witty or energetic as Ritchie’s previous works. It’s a mess!
“Legend of the Sword” is rated PG-13; however, the choppy editing clearly shows Ritchie wanted to make an R-rated movie. Each kill cuts away to another angle or to a completely different scene, making me wonder if there’s an R-rated director’s cut coming to Blu-Ray.
Ritchie’s screenplay, unfortunately, isn’t any better. It’s generic and disjointed; “Legend of the Sword” can’t decide if it wants to be an epic fantasy or a witty medieval-themed heist movie. Ritchie also seems a little too comfortable writing female characters to be imprisoned, tortured, beaten, and sacrificed on a regular basis.
As mentioned, there are sequences where Ritchie could have explored certain myths or done some world building. In one particular sequence, Arthur has to fight several creatures in a place called the Blacklands to train with Excalibur. Ritchie condenses this potentially exciting sequence into a lackluster montage without any drama or spectacle.
Charlie Hunnam is a competent protagonist, but his portrayal of Arthur is strongly reminiscent of his work in “Sons of Anarchy.” He’s having fun and there are times where he saves the scene with his charisma. Hopefully, he receives a better script to work with in the future.