From Brothel to Kingdom

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

Director: Guy Ritchie

Cast: Charlie Hunnam, Jude Law, Eric Bana, Djimon Hounsou, Astrid Berges-Frisbey, Aidan Gillen, Freddie Fox, Annabelle Wallis, Craig McKinley, David Beckham

Despite the miserably wet and cold weather, I popped off one Sunday evening to see director Guy Ritchie’s highly anticipated film King Arthur: Legend of the Sword featuring Pacific Rim star Charlie Hunnam who embodies all the muscular traits of a young would be king who has to fight his tyrannical uncle. That uncle is played by Jude Law (Wilde, Sherlock Holmes) as the vicious Vortigern.

Vortigern who has been seduced by far darker forces betrays his brother King Uther played by Eric Bana (The Other Boleyn Girl) and even murders his own wife. Talk about sibling rivalry.

Arthur who grows up in a pre-medieval London brothel soon learns to fend for himself against unsuspecting invading Vikings and toughens up enough to become a muscular young man who is selected to return to Vortigern’s castle to stand in line with a queue of brawny lads hoping to be able to pull the sword out of the stone.

That legendary sword Excalibur is rightfully pulled out by Arthur and Vortigern identifies his nephew as his true threat and plans to execute him in a spectacular fashion in front of all his ragged followers who out of fear have sworn fealty to a bloodthirsty deranged king.

Fortunately Arthur has some allies who are determined to shape his royal destiny including the sorceress The Mage played by Spanish star Astrid Berges-Frisbey (I, Origins) and Bedivere played by Djimon Hounsou (Blood Diamond) who both assist Arthur in avenging his father’s death and claiming his rightful place at the Table.

In King Arthur, Guy Ritchie employs all his trademark dexterous narrative techniques with lots of witty dialogue that he displayed in the Sherlock Holmes films while deftly maintaining the pace of a legendary action blockbuster, making this one of his biggest studio films.

Hunnam is perfectly cast as the dashing yet brawny King Arthur while Jude Law is suitably vile as Vortigern who believes the only way to quell the masses is through fear.

Whilst King Arthur: The Legend of the Sword could have used a romantic subplot, it remains a mythical and muscular popcorn film which shies away from resorting to loads of gore in order to keep the age restriction fairly low at PG 13.

Audiences should watch out for the deadly archer Bill played by Aiden Gillen last seen as Littlefinger in HBO’s Game of Thrones and the duplicitous maiden Maggie played by British star Annabelle Wallis soon to be seen in the Tom Cruise action remake of The Mummy.

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword is an enjoyable action film heavily influenced by such hit series as Vikings and Game of Thrones but does not punch above its own weight and Ritchie keeps his quirky directorial style to a minimum unlike his previous spy caper The Man From Uncle.

With Hunnam’s box office star power on the rise and Guy Ritchie set to direct more Arthurian sequels, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword gets a rating of 7.5 out of 10.

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