Hello. So let allow me to vent off my initial reactions to the film, or rather the film’s critical reception. Before I start, allow me to simply say that this film is AMAZING. If you haven’t seen it, I recommend it. You can watch the trailer here.
Guy Ritchie has made an entirely new take on the King Arthur Legend, has sprinkled his unique style in the mixture and made what I’d like to call one of my favourite films of the year!!
The opening really sucks you into the lore of the film, with some of the greatest CGI and sound-design combo I’ve seen since Lord Of The Rings, and really gives you that “epic” feel. After the set-up you get a montage intro to Arthur’s character – and if there is one thing we should know Guy Ritchie for, it his his amazing montages. See, people like Jeremy from CinemaSins would have you believe that montages are ‘sloppy exposition’, and sometimes he’s right. But it simply wasn’t the case in King Arthur; and I really have to give the soundtrack credit for this as well. If there is one thing that really stood out in this film, its the soundtrack. Sometimes its all mystical and magical, then at other times its got this medieval beat that just kicks ass!
The film in general certainly had that Guy Ritchie feel, and that is never a bad thing if you are a fan of his past projects. This adaptation had the intention of being an epic action adventure, and that is exactly what it is. The story doesn’t over complicate itself. Character motivation is clear, and there is certainly some dark themes with Vortigern, played brilliantly by Jude Law. This film also has the likes of Charlie Hunnam and Eric Bana, with a few other recognisable faces like Aiden Gillen and Michael McElhatton from Game of Thrones, and Geoff Bell and Neil Maskell who you’ll recognise if you’re a fan of British crime films. Hunnam was a great casting choice for Arthur, bringing that devilish charm to the character, making Arthur that loveable-rogue-who-becomes-the-hero kind of guy.
Regardless of this, however, the film has actually been met with a mostly negative response from critics. And this is what leads me to tell you why this film has angered me. The film itself isn’t why I am angry, it’s the critics negative view on what this amazing film has tried to do. The critics are trying to tear this film apart, because they are stuck in that mindset that Hollywood have set a trend for in every film these days.
Seriously, there seems to be a formula, a Hollywood standard, a set of guidelines that are now in place, and lord forbid anyone doesn’t abide by one or all of them. Allow me to tackle some of the criticisms King Arthur: Legend Of The Sword is receiving post-opening weekend.
1) “Charlie Hunnam isn’t a strong enough actor to be a lead role”
WRONG. I don’t exactly know Charlie Hunnam for a lot other than Sons of Anarchy and Green Street, but that doesn’t mean that someone who doesn’t have Hollywood Status can’t lead. Did anyone really know who Daisy Ridley and Jon Boyega was before The Force Awakens? Didn’t think so. Regardless if he is a big name or not, I think it is very old fashioned of us to still be in the mindset of thinking stardom still holds credibility. There are plenty of amazing films that have flourished without big names in the lead role, and there have certainly been plenty of box-office flops WITH big names in the lead roles. Every actor and actress started somewhere, and got their big break at some point. This film shouldn’t be treated any differently.
2) “There’s no strong female characters”
Okay sure, there isn’t anyone other than the Mage worth mentioning in terms of female characters in this film. But the Mage was an amazing, empowered character, Arthur wouldn’t have succeeded without her. On a personal note, I thought she was badass, I’m a sucker for magical black eyes! But lets take a step back and just look at the times it is set in. I know it’s mythical, there weren’t actually giant Elephants that existed in our history, but its a take on a medieval time period. In those times, women were unfortunately treated like sh*t. They didn’t have rights and were seen as below men. When you have a time-period-esque film, you want to stay true to the times for it to feel authentic. Besides, and this point pisses me off more – it’s actually quite a sexist way to treat women these days. “Oh, lets keep them happy and put a strong female lead in, they can’t moan about the film then”. I’m sure that most level-headed women can every now and then accept to watch a film that doesn’t have a strong female lead, especially when its time period is when us humans were a bit more barbaric.
3) “No one wanted another King Arthur film”
You’re right. No one did. Just like how no one asked for another Independence Day, or no one asked for another Ghostbusters, or no one asked Michael Bay to keep making Transformers films. Just because something came out of the blue doesn’t mean people aren’t interested. A filmmaker should be able to make whatever film they want, and it is up to the audience to accept it or not. And while the critics bust the movie up for every ridiculous reason under the sun – the audience loved it! Read anyone’s view on the film who isn’t a critic, and it is a rarity to see someone genuinely didn’t like the film. I work at a cinema, and every person who came out of the screen told me how good it was. When you’ve seen such positive audience reaction, its really then hard to see why critics are shredding this. I saw the trailer, and took note to watch this. And I’m so glad I did!
4) “You want Sword and Sorcery, go watch Game Of Thrones”
TV has no shortage of amazing shows, with critics and audiences alike calling the past few years, and the years to come as the ‘golden age of television’, but it isn’t fair to piss on something because someone else is doing it, especially when the two are vastly unconnected. The King Arthur legend itself no doubt leant inspiration to Tolkien’s Lord Of The Rings universe, and in turn, lead inspiration to George R.R Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones). As such, the source material should still be able to be explored in new innovative ways, regardless of what is available now. Sword and Sorcery is a genre itself, and just because two or more projects use the genre does not mean that one is copying the other. If a Sci-fi film contains space-ships and Aliens, it wouldn’t be fair to then say “it’s copying Star Wars”, even if the writer and/or director used it as inspiration.
5) “It completely disregards the lore of the King Arthur Story”
Does it have to stick to the story we’ve heard over and over again? In fact, I’m sure if it stuck to the roots of King Arthur, the critics would then just be saying ‘Bland, nothing we haven’t seen before’. The whole point of films like this is to take a story we know already, and breathe new life into it by putting an original spin on it. Guy Ritchie set out to do that, and his vision of King Arthur was absolutely astonishing!
If you truly want a reason as to why this film isn’t doing well, I can give you two reasons. The first being that people listen to critics. If every review out there is saying the film is bad, a huge number of people will then be put off seeing it, thinking they are saving themselves money, and two hours of their lives. How unfair is it that a good film is put down because critics can’t see past the stupid reasons I’ve listed above?
The second being, and this is a fair point I must admit, is that it was released at the wrong time. Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol.2 and Alien: Covenant were the two big names to compete with, and sadly, people are going to rather watch something they already know and love. Guardians rapidly became another flagship for Marvel, and for any film to release at the same time…its a no brainer which one will smash the box office.
My only personal criticisms are too minuscule to even fault the film for. (I don’t get what the giant snake was about, and..David Beckham…really?!) It was an amazing watch from start to finish, with a story easy to follow, characters with charisma, amazing action, and an amazing soundtrack. There’s not much more you can ask from a film.
10/10, would watch again! (and will!)