This movie is already infamous for being one of the first flops of 2017. When it opened back on May 12th, this $175 million dollar film only made just over $15 million in its first weekend. As of now, even with foreign ticket sales, this will probably end up being a big loss for Warner Bros. The film that was meant to start a new franchise for the studio will likely remain a standalone film. Why did this happen?
There could be many reasons. In my view, this simply wasn’t a good movie.
The story is of Arthur’s childhood and his journey to taking the throne away from his evil uncle. Here’s the synopsis from Rotten Tomatoes. “Starring Charlie Hunnam in the title role, the film is an iconoclastic take on the classic Excalibur myth, tracing Arthur’s journey from the streets to the throne. When the child Arthur’s father is murdered, Vortigern (Jude Law), Arthur’s uncle, seizes the crown. Robbed of his birthright and with no idea who he truly is, Arthur comes up the hard way in the back alleys of the city. But once he pulls the sword from the stone, his life is turned upside down and he is forced to acknowledge his true legacy…whether he likes it or not.” It’s a pretty straightforward narrative.
The biggest issue is the editing. The director, in an attempt to make this movie appeal to younger audiences, has the movie edited like a music video. This means that the dialogue is said really quickly and the camera rapidly cuts back and forth between shots. The pacing is also really choppy. Core parts of the story that should be 20 minutes long are only 5 minutes long, thus parts of the story are really rushed. Likewise, other parts of the story could’ve been shortened. Another issue with the movie is that there are many fantasy elements in the story, like creatures and people with wizardly powers. For example, Arthur’s aided by a sorceress while on his journey to claim the throne. These elements are either never explained or explained in a split second. This goes back to the super fast dialogue. You see stuff like giant snakes and elephants and you just have to go with the flow. When watching, it’s better not to question certain things that happen on-screen.
To be fair, there are many good aspects of King Arthur. The basic plot is easy to understand and there are no subplots or love interests to speak of. The massive budget is put to good use as all the special and visual effects are fantastic. Things like the lighting and setting were well done and all the battles were spectacular. The majority of the film is very entertaining and the actors do fine work. There’s just enough character development, so you feel what these characters are going through. In the end, the trailer (down below) describes the movie in a nutshell. It’s weirdly paced, the dialogue is super fast, and certain areas of the story are rushed. However, it’s nonetheless very entertaining and epic in terms of the visuals. I rate this a 50%. I would not recommend seeing this, but if it’s a rainy day and you have nothing else to do, watching this wouldn’t be a bad idea. As long as you go with the flow and not question some of the fantasy moments, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, is simple fun.