Guy Ritchie is known for gangster films like Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Snatch, and The Gentlemen. His style is often ripe with referencing mob-like figures that are from the UK or surrounding European countries. However, he has recently been offering his take on some odd films that don’t fall under the category of gangster or his style. He directed the live-action Aladdin film, which no one saw coming. But even before the took on the duty of turning one of the most beloved animated films into a live-action feature, he took on a historical drama. That was none other than King Arthur: Legend of the Sword. This film was based on Arthurian legends and starred Charlie Hunnam. The film is on Netflix but is leaving soon, so if this style sounds good to you, check the movie out before it’s gone.
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword came out in 2017 and was initially a plan to be turned into a franchise. The first movie was supposed to lead to four additional sequels but was quickly abandoned when it flopped in theaters. Against a budget of $175 million, the movie would only go on to make $148 million at worldwide box offices. Both Warner Bros and Village Roadshow Pictures bailed on the plan. Any film that underperforms in this manner is likely to never be picked up for further entries. Even with how big of a star Charlie Hunnam is. The man, who was made popular from the hit series Sons of Anarchy, was not enough to bring this film out of the depths of critical failure. The film currently holds a 31% critic rating on Rotten Tomatoes, however, the 69% audience score tells a different story. This film was clearly much more well-received by audiences.
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword follows King Arthur (Charlie Hunnam), as he deals with his tyrannical uncle, Vortigern. Vortigern is played by Jude Law, and for some reason, they decided to give the character the ability to transform into a demonic knight. This is achieved by Vortigern sacrificing his own wife, Emily, so that he may obtain this power. He lusts for the throne of England, so he kills his brother Uther and his wife, to take the throne. A young Arthur escapes by boat to then be raised by prostitutes, where he becomes a savvy street criminal. He is set to be executed until he is saved by an acolyte of Merlin, who then reveals to Arthur that his mother and father were slain by Vortigern. Arthur then finds the sword in the stone, which is made from the body of Uther, after he sacrificed himself to save Arthur. Without ruining the end of the film, things turn epic very quickly, with plenty of battles to entice those who love the medieval era of fighting in films. You can see the epic opening scene of the film below:
Warner Bros initially had a plan to release a further King Arthur film after the success of the 2004 entry, however, the planned films past this never came to fruition. One Excalibur remake was written by the controversial director, Bryan Singer. It was abandoned shortly after being written. Another Arthurian story entitled, Arthur & Lancelot, was written and would have starred Kit Harrington and Joel Kinnaman. The studio felt that those names were not big enough draws, so that project was also abandoned. This Guy Ritchie entry then became the amalgamation of all three scripts into one that was lost in its delivery. At least, that is what critics felt about the film. Per the ratings on Rotten Tomatoes and other outlets, the story was fine enough to entertain some folks.
Regardless of how critics felt about this film, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword is underrated, as it provides some fantastic action and drama that makes era films so special. Despite the storyline being messy with certain elements, those things can often be ignored for the higher entertainment value of a film. Plus, Charlie Hunnam, Jude Law, Djimon Hounsou, and Eric Bana make up a rather impressive cast of characters that work well with one another in the film. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword is currently streaming on Netflix USA until April 24th. While it seems odd to remove a film before the end of the month, Netflix does what it wants. Stream the film while you can, and decide if it deserves the poor critic rating, or if the audience prevails in their reviews.