King Arthur: Legend of the Sword is a film by Guy Ritchie. It is rated PG-13 for sequences of violence and action, some suggestive content and brief strong language. Admittedly, I had only seen one Guy Ritchie film to date, and that was Swept Away starring his then wife Madonna. I actually quite liked it, possibly one of a very few people who got what they were trying to say in the film.
I learned of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table when I was a kid or teenager. I can only imagine the attention the legend commands in its native England. From watching the trailer, I knew this film would have monsters in it and would be more supernatural than the tale I had first heard.
As for King Arthur, aside from the monsters, which I really don’t care for, I soon became entranced by the way Ritchie tells a tale. It is established early on that Arthur narrowly escapes with his life as just a toddler, and ends up in the city where good-hearted women who work in the brothels take him in.
I really enjoyed the way we see Arthur grow up, in little segments showing how he gets his street smarts and fighting skills as he matures. This wasn’t the only time the director used this technique and it worked to full advantage.
Arthur (Charlie Hunnam) is soon an adult, is captured and transported to the kingdom where his uncle Vortigern (Jude Law) lives and rules. The famous sword, Excalibur, waits in the stone for the heir to the throne to arrive and pull it out. Men are traipsed through there and of course, no one is able to lift it free, until Arthur comes on the scene.
The magic begins, but not without Arthur denying who he really is. His search for himself and his lineage progresses with the help of The Mage (Astrid Bergès-Frisbey), a fearsome woman who is ruthless in her tutelage of Arthur.
Basically, I liked the film, although tiring of the fighting sequences as it progressed. This is allegedly the first installment of a six film series. I would like to see the round table and the knights again, not so much the monsters and the fighting. Surely they must have just talked once in awhile. And then there’s the love interest with Guinevere.
King Arthur was said to live in the late 5th, early 6th century and led the defense of Britain against Saxon invaders. Scholars debate his historical existence, but it makes for a good story. He is said to have established an empire over Britain, Ireland, Iceland, Norway and Gaul (a region of Western Europe).
The legend lives on and has been rewritten many times over the centuries, storytellers taking great license in the retelling of the gallant tales. This version, King Arthur: The Legend of the Sword, is no exception. I saw it in the dollar theater, and that’s where it’s probably best seen.