Guy Ritchie’s take on the Arthurian legend is one filled with classic geezer bravado and filled to the brim with scenes cutting together the explanation of an event and the actual event. So you will instantly know if you are not a Ritchie cinephile that you will spend the majority of this film wincing, because Arthur is quite keen on getting the “lads” together and calling people “sugartits”.
The story itself is somewhat different to how I remember it, a prologue sets the scene of a war between Mage and Man that Uther Pendragon (Eric Bana) wins, before a coup results in him sending his infant son down the river before he is murdered. Arthur (Charlie Hunnam) grows up on the streets and in a brothel, and as is par for the course for a Ritchie film, fights in slow motion, occasionally with no shirt. King Vortigen (Jude Law) now rules with an iron fist but the rumour of the born king buoys the people’s hopes.
I’m generally a Ritchie fan, in fact his most recent film, “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” is genuinely brilliant. But this never quite gets going. Hunnam is good as the charismatic rogue king and Law clearly watched Alan Rickman’s Sheriff of Nottingham when deciding to be an over the top villain. But then there is the bad, the over use of CGI in the opening and final battles (don’t watch in 3D where you will struggle to see in the mirk), an utterly horrendous stunt cameo for David Beckham in a crucial scene (at least in U.N.C.L.E. he was blink and you miss it), the slightly muddled role of mages in this world and if I’m honest a bit too much quintessential Guy Ritchie. After all, you don’t need every scene to be intercut with someone explaining/planning it.
And then Hunnam or Law will bring a smile to your face by being so damn charismatic or hammy and all is forgiven.