Review: King Arthur is disjointed but enjoyable

PUBLISHED: 16:19 14 July 2017 | UPDATED: 16:19 14 July 2017

King Arthur: Legend of the sword

King Arthur: Legend of the sword

Archant

British director Guy Ritchie returns with this fantasy epic based on the legend of King Arthur.

With British actor Charlie Hunnam in the title role, the film tells the tale of Arthur’s early life and his rise to the throne.

After his uncle Vortigern (Jude Law) organises a coup and overthrows his father, the King (Eric Bana), Young Arthur is rescued and brought up by prostitutes in the tough back streets of Londinium.

Years later, keen to wipe out any competition to the throne, Vortigern scours the land searching for his brothers true heir, who legend claims will be able to whield the mystical sword Excalibur.

It’s a familiar tale but Ritchie has a unique take on the story.

Arthur and his friends are introduced as london gangsters complete with cockney accents and silly nicknames like Goosefat Bill and Wet Stick.

These characters would be at home in any of Ritchie’s back catalogue, but seem out of place in a tale of Arthurian legend. Nevertheless, this set up is not taken too seriously and is the catalyst for some entertaining comedic moments.

The film begins with an out and out fantasy battle complete with giant war elephants and collapsing castles which is more in keeping with the subject matter, but seems at odds with the film’s approach.

It is an enjoyable scene nonetheless and could have come straight from an episode of Game of Thrones. In fact, the show’s influence is clear to see with more than one actor from the fantasy drama making an appearance.

Charlie Hunnam is the film’s lead portraying a likeable Arthur and with one cringe inducing celebrity cameo aside, is given solid support from the likes of Djimon Hounsou and Neil Maskell, with Jude Law lending menace to the evil Vortigern.

On the whole the film is an uneven mix of different styles and tones that struggle to fit together coherently, however, despite this, it is undeniably entertaining.

Even the rather sub standard CGI finale doesn’t spoil what is a fun action flick that tips its hat to the big fantasy films of the 1980s.

It remains to be seen whether the film will do enough business to green light a sequel but it would be a shame if not, as Guy Ritchie has completed the groundwork here and appears to have some interesting ideas for a franchise.

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