Guy Ritchie’s King Arthur shows flair early on, only to capitulate into blockbuster fantasy mediocrity.
“You wanted a prophecy – this is your prophecy.”
I had virtually no expectations going into this, so why do I feel so disappointed? As it turns out, Guy Ritchie’s revisionist Arthurian legend about a bunch of geezers chatting shit is something I’m kind of curious about watching. All of the film’s strongest aspects can be attributed to the divisive director’s trademark hyper-rapid, whip-cut filmmaking style – full of banter, brawling, slow-mo and a healthy (?) amount of profanity. What makes those Guy Ritchie-isms so endearing isn’t their execution or effect on the audience (I can’t say they all worked for me), it’s the fact that they managed to feature in this otherwise flavourless mess at all. When David Yates slept-walked his way through making Legend Of Tarzan last year, he brought absolutely none of that Harry Potter magic with him. At least 30% of this feels like a Guy Ritchie film.
But it’s gradually suppressed, buried far beneath the visually bland exterior of a movie that has nothing to offer outside of those brief flashes of personality. The very essence of this Ritchie caper is squeezed out of its story by faux-profound fantasy mumbo-jumbo and all the worst kind of CGI-fuelled genre pitfalls. What makes this film so frustrating is that it doesn’t always strive for middle of the road blockbuster mediocrity – so when King Arthur: Legend Of The Sword stops trying to have fun and falls prey to every third act cliché in the book, you’re left scratching your head wondering where it all went wrong.
This is the ‘social media’ reaction I posted on Letterboxd when I saw the film two weeks ago (pre-embargo) which looks strangely like a mini-review, but isn’t ofc.