English dude-bro Guy Ritchie, having made his mark on the Sherlock Holmes mythos, turns his attention now to a famous Brit who probably actually existed. This telling (which Ritchie co-wrote with Joby Harold and Lionel Wigram) revamps the familiar story so that the title sword-puller (played by Charlie Hunnam) is a streetwise orphan raised in a brothel who reluctantly accepts his role as savior of his people, aided by resistance fighters Bedivere (Djimon Hounsou), Bill (Aidan Gillen) and others. Their opponent is Vortigern (a coldly sniveling Jude Law), the usurping king who’s using dark magic—including a deal with a many-tentacled octopus-witch—to amass power. The story details, pulled from Arthurian legends and the writers’ own butts, are bizarre enough to be intriguing but not so crazy they’re laughable, resulting in a sort of amiable insanity. Ritchie has an annoying fondness for skipping past a scene only to hop back later and fill us in on the details, but he also has a knack for breezy, anachronistic sarcasm and un-chaotic action scenes. Excessive? Yes—just the right amount.
Director: Guy Ritchie
Producer: Akiva Goldsman, Joby Harold, Tory Tunnell, Steve Clark-Hall, Guy Ritchie, Lionel Wigram, David Dobkin, Bruce Berman and Steven Mnuchin
Cast: Charlie Hunnam, Astrid Bergès-Frisbey, Jude Law, Djimon Hounsou, Eric Bana, Aidan Gillen, Freddie Fox, Craig McGinlay, Tom Wu, Kingsley Ben-Adir, Neil Maskell, Annabelle Wallis, Zac Barker, Oliver Barker, Geoff Bell, Poppy Delevingne, Millie Brady, Nicola Wren, Wil Coban and Bleu Landau
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword