King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

2017, PG-13, 126 min. Directed by Guy Ritchie. Starring Charlie Hunnam, Astrid Bergès-Frisbey, Jude Law, Djimon Hounsou, Eric Bana, Aidan Gillen.

REVIEWED By Kimberley Jones, Fri., May 12, 2017

Guy Ritchie’s superfluous King Arthur reboot stars Charlie Hunnam as the man who would be king, brought up to 21st century code with a lotta side crunches and wisecracking pals he calls his crew. Raised an orphan with no memory of his royal lineage, his Arthur fairly quickly pulls the sword Excalibur from the stone, but it takes a lot longer for him to agree to challenge the evil king Vortigern, who’s played by Jude Law in delicious eyeliner, layered extra-thick for whenever he’s playing extra-evil.

The action is generic and frequently incoherent. When Arthur puts two hands on Excalibur, Richie goes for a video game “power-up” aesthetic – swiveling camera, fetishistic slo-mos and hard stops. Legend of the Sword is wall-to-wall CGI, oppressively so, every frame crammed with ones and zeroes that don’t add up to much of anything. By contrast, Annie Symons’ costume design is tantalizingly tactile – chain mailed Vortigern’s eagle epaulet, and Arthur’s fetching leather hybrid of sherpa jacket and Western duster.

The future of Ritchie’s series – this is the first in a proposed six installments – likely hangs on Legend of the Sword’s box office success. Still, this opening salvo’s premature sequelitis saps its here-and-now entertainment value. Why kick the can with the love interest? Does Ritchie think he’s being cute with that under-construction Round Table? Hodgepodging bits from the Arthurian canon – a dash of Mordred here, a quick shake of the Lady of the Lake there, and don’t forget the shout-out to OG Merlin – Ritchie and his co-writers forge a faux-historical storyline with amusing (if never truly witty) punch lines and heavy supernatural elements, but utterly fail at conveying … well, the magic of this oft-told tale. Nothing here excites the imagination, conveys the rich romance of the legend, or even sticks in the brain after you’ve unstuck your feet from the movie theatre floor. The story never drags – it’s too frenetically paced for that – but it’s still kind of a drag.


Cinemark Movies 8 Round Rock

2120 N. Mays, Round Rock, 512/388-2848

Discounts daily before 5pm.

Wed., July 26

digital 12:30, 3:30, 6:45, 9:45

Thu., July 27

digital 12:30, 3:30, 6:45, 9:45

Southwest Theaters at Lake Creek 7

13729 Research #1500, 512/291-3158,

matinees $2, 6pm and after $3, $1.50 extra for 3-D; $6 for special engagements

Wed., July 26

CC 4:10, 9:50

Thu., July 27

CC 4:10, 9:50
More Guy Ritchie Films
The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
Napoleon Solo and and Illya Kuryakin don't transition well to the present

Josh Kupecki, Aug. 14, 2015

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
Robert Downey Jr. inhabits the role of Sherlock Holmes to a near-molecular level in this rushing whoosh of a follow-up to 2009's blockbuster.

Marc Savlov, Dec. 16, 2011

More by Kimberley Jones
Where to Watch <i>Game of Thrones</i>’ Season 7 Premiere in Austin
Where to Watch Game of Thrones’ Season 7 Premiere
Local watch parties, plus GoT trivia nights and menu specials

July 12, 2017

The Exception
WW II melodrama lacks a charismatic lead

July 7, 2017


King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, Guy Ritchie, Charlie Hunnam, Astrid Bergès-Frisbey, Jude Law, Djimon Hounsou, Eric Bana, Aidan Gillen

AC Daily, Events and Promotions, Luvdoc Answers

Breaking news, recommended events, and more

Official Chronicle events, promotions, and giveaways

Updates for SXSW 2017

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)