Guy Ritchie directed the action-fantasy film, which was released in 2017 and is based on a story by Harold and David Dobkin, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, from a screenplay by Harold and Lionel Wigram. After watching Guy Ritchie’s frantic, sloppy fantasy-babble epic King Arthur: Legend Of The Sword for the first time, viewers may think that the film reels have been turned out of sequence. That shouldn’t be possible in the age of digital presentations.
In any case, it seems strange why the film begins with such a sudden clash of titans, perhaps a reference to Peter Jackson’s Return Of The King.
Those who are familiar with King Arthur mythology will likely be surprised to see Eric Bana’s King Uther slugging it out with Rob Knighton’s sorcerer/magician Mordred in the opening minutes. By introducing King Arthur’s final antagonist a generation early and by transforming him into a CGI demon commanding an army of elephants the size of city blocks, Peter Jackson has made his intentions clear.
The film is done with a lot of computer-animated violence and a lot of mixing and matching of elements of the legend. Speedy storytelling at the next-generation level is aimed at the most impatient, overcaffeinated members of the audience. A person entering King Arthur shouldn’t be kept waiting for petty explanations of who’s fighting and why.
In the meantime, even before it’s clear what the things are, Uther and Mordred both glow, give their final-boss-battle moves, and the explosion begins.
What Happens in the Film (Without Revealing Any Spoilers)?
The film mostly follows this approach. There is a hyper-compressed violence college at the beginning of the first 30 minutes that summarize three seasons of Game of Thrones. Throughout twenty minutes of violent action, Ritchie and two of his collaborators (previous partner Lionel Wagram and Awake writer-director Joby Harold) let the viewer know what is really happening. There is no explanation of what mages are, their goals, or where their powers come from.
Mordred threatened England, and mages lived peacefully together before he took it by force. In the climactic battle against Mordred, Uther battles against the enemies, but he also wants a return to a peaceful status quo. He opposes this and joins with his brother Vortigern (Jude Law) to take over Britain and eliminate mages forever. Uther’s children were raised in brothels in the squalor Roman town of Londinium by his son Arthur, the last surviving member of the Pendragon lineage.
The Best Fantasy Fragments are Present in the Film
In Ritchie’s film, the boy’s childhood is seen as an impressionistic blur of physical abuse, scheming kids, and fight lessons, but in the end, Arthur has grown up into a streetwise Charlie Hunnam who is often left shirtless. The dreams of his father’s last stand haunt him as an adult, though he cannot understand their meaning. In the meantime, Vortigern has developed into a creepy, preening tyrant who speaks in plenty of plummy terms about being feared.
In the end, he arrives at Arthur’s house. Besides Arthur Pendragon, as the rightful heir of the Pendragon family, only the Excalibur weapon can be controlled, here reimagined as an obscurely magical plot device whose blue light occasionally flashes and whose owner sometimes gains superpowers.
After Arthur is dragged out of the gutter and ordered to fight thousands of faceless baddies, an epic tale about a kid who is forced to deal with an army of CGI monsters evolves into a tale of a reluctant champion.
Streaming Details for King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
The HBO Max streaming service currently has the movie King Arthur: Legend of the Sword available. Vudu, Google Play, Amazon Instant Video, iTunes, and Netflix all offer King Arthur: Legend of the Sword for rent or purchase.