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King Arthur: Legend of the Sword: Movie Review

Hannah Goodwyn


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This is King Arthur, Guy Ritchie style. If you saw and liked Sherlock Holmes, starring Robert Downey, Jr., then you've got a good idea of what to expect from the British director's revamp of Arthur's legend. True to form, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword has a Ritchie look – in color, tone, score, comedy, and action.

What King Arthur dives into on a much deeper level than Sherlock Holmes is sorcery. It's decidedly darker. The famed Merlin doesn't show up in this incarnation of Arthur's fable, but the "dark arts" play a major role.

In King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, Arthur (Charlie Hunnam) is a rough and tumble hustler who makes his way in the world working out of a brothel. His true identity isn't revealed until he pulls the magical sword Excalibur from a stone. This feat signs his death warrant – as cruel King Vortigern (Jude Law) hunts down an alleged heir of his late brother, King Uther (Eric Bana). Vortigern's kingdom lives in darkness. He uses magic to oppress the people and there is no hope – until Arthur.

The dialogue is clever. The costumes and set design look spectacular. The cinematography and sharp editing grab you and don't let go. And film composer Daniel Pemberton (Steve Jobs and The Man from U.N.C.L.E.) lays a striking score as the track for this (mostly) fast-paced, modern production of the classic tale.

However, Arthur's story falters – to a degree – under the weight of Guy Ritchie's signature talents. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword is a larger-than-life fantasy movie complete with mythical creatures, but the personal drama and moral of this saga get a little bit lost in the middle of it all. It lags on occasion as well.

Sorcery is the cornerstone of King Arthur: Legend of the Sword. The original legend had its spells and this one definitely does too. Magic is central not only to the villain's storyline, but Arthur and his "knights" are also aided by it in the form of a mage (a young woman from Merlin's camp).

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword definitely earns its PG-13 rating (for sequences of violence and action, some suggestive content, and brief strong language). The bloody bits aren't in your face (except for a scene when King Vortigern cuts off a man's ear). Also, two F-bombs are dropped (one use was just mouthed – hence the PG-13 rating). People die throughout the movie; there's more than just one battle scene in this film.

Legend of the Sword's main messages are summed up on its posters: "Temptation blackens the heart" and "From nothing comes a king." The movie ends up being a parable about a power-greedy man who sells his soul to gain it all and the nobody who defeats utter darkness to reclaim his inheritance and set free his people.

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword will be the first of many as Guy Ritchie and Warner Bros. kick start a medieval "superhero" franchise. This first installment, well, Ritchie fans will like it. For its dabblings in sorcery and its faults, most of you will not.

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About The Author


Hannah Goodwyn served as a Senior Producer for, managing and writing for the award-winning website. After her undergraduate studies at Christopher Newport University, Hannah went on to study Journalism at the graduate level. In 2005, she graduated summa cum laude with her Master's from Regent University and was honored with an Outstanding Student Award. From there, Hannah began work as a content producer for For ten years, she acted as the managing producer for the website's Family and Entertainment sections. A movie buff, Hannah felt right at home working as's