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King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

Guy Ritchie has a very unique style of directing, so that you can spot his films from a mile away. This was apparent in full bloom in his first successes such as Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrells and Snatch, and it crept up frequently in his foray into blockbuster territory with his two Sherlock Holmes films, and even the panned spy movie The Man from U.N.C.L.E. The latest blockbuster to be helmed by Ritchie is King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, and it raises the question of whether blockbuster territory is really Ritchie’s best area.

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword is a retelling of the classic English Arthurian legend, but with a new twist and perspective. Ritchie’s take on the legend places Arthur (Charlie Hunnam) in a street-like environment, having him run a brothel and clash with witty thugs (like in all Ritchie films). The story deviates a lot from the source material, pitting Arthur against his uncle Vortigern (Jude Law) an evil sorcerer that usurped the English throne. This leads to a story heavily infused with magic and a new lore unbeknownst to King Arthur fans.

Ritchie brings his unique storytelling style, of which the most notable are his quirky and quick editing and his fight scenes that have a revolving camera around slow-motion victims. These infusions certainly spice up the film above the general medieval fare cinemas now show, and the street-like etiquette and savy King Arthur are and incredibly refreshing and captivating approach to watch.

And this movie could have really worked out if only Ritchie were given enough time. The same problem seemed to happen with Ritchie’s previous film The Man from U.N.C.L.E.: there was a lot of great material that was crammed and rushed so that it could fit in the classic two-hour time frame. In a three-hour epic or even in a TV series, Ritchie could have brought forth a true masterpiece, but instead we’re treated to skimming on a world that seemed to have so much more to offer.

All the right ingredients seemed to be here; there was enough ambition from the filmmakers, a capable cast, and some wonderful sets, the only problem was that the entire story they were trying to tell became sloppy as it was trimmed and squashed into an acceptable runtime. If the studios put so many restrictions on Ritchie, you wonder if it might not be better to go back to his old way of making films.



About Young Critic

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I've been writing on different version of this website since February of 2013. I originally founded the website in a film-buff phase in high school, but it has since continued through college and into my adult life. Young Critic may be getting older, but the love and passion for film is forever young. 

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