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King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

May 14, 2017

What’s there to like?

Puzzlingly, I find myself having not seen very many Guy Ritchie movies. In fact, The Man from U.N.C.L.E just might be the only one. From the buzz (and counterbuzz) surrounding King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, I was worried I might not take to it.

I’m happy to say, I got it. I got Ritchie’s point of view. He certainly swung for the fences on this one. Some may consider it a strikeout, but for my money, he connected. The big-swing point of view mainly comes down to two things, in my view.

First, King Arthur is fun. Ritchie brings a full helping of his (I’m told) lad-culture swagger to the Arthurian legend. He shows tremendous confidence, chemistry, and pacing. The thing just feels sexy.  Even though we don’t see a lot of nudity or prurience in this PG-13 flick, it has an appealing self-assurance and competence. Ritchie doesn’t feel like he has to get every aspect of Arthur’s story in there. He takes what he wants to make the movie he wanted to make, and the choices of what to include and what to cut work.

Second, I love a high archetypal mythological tale.  The good guy, along with having the birthright of destiny, also intrinsically has a lot of other kingly traits–he’s a good leader, people love him, he’s street smart and savvy, he can fight, and so on. The bad guy is basically all evil and in no way deserving of the throne–rules through fear, he’s willing to do terrible things in order to hold on to power. There’s something about classic myths, and I’m glad King Arthur movie leaned into that heritage.

And the story is a quintessential hero’s journey. Will Arthur answer the call to live up to his potential–his destiny–which means taking on burdens most don’t have to endure? Will he accept the wisdom and help of others to achieve his own greatness? Will he face what’s inside himself as well as the challenges in the exterior world? And, by extension, will we, as the viewers? There’s a reason it’s the most common story format. It’s moving and inspiring.

What’s not to like?

Like I say, King Arthur worked for me. But if someone were to not like this movie, I suspect it would be for one of a few reasons. If you don’t like the Ritchie-esque interposition of the explaining of a plan with it actually happening, for example, maybe you won’t like this. If you want a less mythical, more realistic story, maybe this won’t be the one for you. If you think a smirking, winking, swaggering take on a classic tale is a little too self aware (self-satisfied, maybe)? Yeah, again, this might not be your jam.

The Verdict

Guy Ritchie uses his lad-swag take to get at the soul of the legend of King Arthur in a new, cool way. Might not be for everyone, but me? I got it. And liked it.

Recommended

[Cross posted at practicallyculture.com]

From → Movies

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