From The LEGO Movie to The Last Jedi, we’ve entered an age of upending traditional hero mythology—and here’s another welcome addition to that canon. Writer/director Joe Cornish tells the story of Alex (Louis Ashbourne Serkis, son of Andy), a 12-year-old British schoolboy who improbably finds himself wielding Excalibur, and leading a quest to prevent the rise of the sorceress Morgana (Rebecca Ferguson), with a ragtag crew of young Round Table knights. Cornish doesn’t show the same sense of pacing that he did in his debut feature Attack the Block, as the two-hour kid pic drags a bit on the way to its big finish. But the appealing young cast—including Angus Imrie as a geekily enthusiastic young Merlin—provides some welcome energy, and the battles against flaming demon skeletons are solidly rousing. Mostly, there’s a satisfying Brexit-era insistence on the need for a basic code of decency, and an inspirational message to young viewers: The big battles can be won by those who work together and simply refuse to let the powerful bad guys win—and you don’t need to be a Chosen One to change things.
Director: Joe Cornish
Producer: Nira Park, Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, James Biddle and Rachael Prior
Cast: Louis Serkis, Rebecca Ferguson, Patrick Stewart, Dean Chaumoo, Tom Taylor, Rhianna Dorris, Angus Imrie and Denise Gough