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Movie Review: King Arthur – Legend of the Sword

The tale of King Arthur has been told and re-told and re-told again for around 1400 years. The enduring legacy of this mythical King, his Knights of the Round Table, the betrayal of his wife Guinevere with his best friend Lancelot, Merlin, Camelot…..the list is seemingly endless.

Many of these stories are so familiar to so many of us that another King Arthur movie, while it may not feature at awards time, will find an audience, particularly given the success in recent years of medieval fantasy projects such as Game of Thrones and Vikings.

In this Guy Ritchie directed re-working of the Arthurian legend, Arthur (Hunnam) has been raised in a brothel, completely unaware of his dynastic legacy. His evil uncle Vortigern (Law) has ruled for many years having usurped the throne from Arthur’s father Uther Pendragon (Bana).

Vortigern’s reign is one of terror but his greatest fear is Arthur reappearing to claim his throne. When the sword Excalibur unexpectedly re-emerges from the depths of the lake, his worst fears are realised and as we all know, whoever can remove Excalibur from the stone is the true ruler of all Britain. In an attempt to flush Arthur from hiding, Vortigern demands that all males of a certain age try to remove the sword and when they fail to do so, they are branded.

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Arthur is rounded up with many other young men and, of course, succeeds in removing Excalibur.  Suddenly thrust into a position and situation he has no desire to be in, Arthur initially retreats but guided by The Mage (Berges-Frisbey), his friends and his own powerful dreams, Arthur cannot escape his true destiny.

I was so excited to see this movie after that very first trailer and was expecting great things. Sadly, I was a little disappointed.

The casting, the costumes, the styling and general feel of the movie are amazing. I am all for an updated re-telling of the Arthurian legend and that is the first issue I have. Where are all the other main players? Merlin, Lancelot? Merlin, in particular, who had such a major part in helping Arthur regain his throne barely rates a mention.

The film tries too hard to be cool and suffers for it. The script is weak and seems more intent on setting up the ensuing franchise (I understand there were to be 7 movies in total) that it just meanders along for a few hours and never really does anything. A tighter script with a focus on storytelling may have saved it from itself.

But I didn’t hate it, I just didn’t like it a whole lot.

3 stars

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Director : Guy Ritchie

Starring : Charlie Hunnam, Astrid Bergès-Frisbey, Jude Law, Djimon Hounsou, Eric Bana, Aidan Gillen, Freddie Fox, Craig McGinlay, Tom Wu, Kingsley Ben-Adir, Neil Maskell, Annabelle Wallis

Running Time :  126 minutes

Release Date :  In Cinemas Now

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Written by Sue Ellen

Copywriter. Writer. Reviewer. Coffee addict. Handbag tragic. Conspiracy tin hatter. Drama Queen.