After a battle against Mordred (Rob Knighton) there is unrest in the kingdom of Camelot and King Uther (Eric Bana) tries to flee with his wife and child before it is too late. His brother Vortigern (Jude Law) has made a deal with the creature in the waters below the castle to win his battle against his brother. Murdered by Vortigern the King’s son, young Arthur (Zac and Oliver Zac Baker) was able to get in a row boat and float away from the evil that killed his parents. The sword which gave King Uther his power and strength was lost under the weight of the ocean waters. As for young Arthur he was later found by a group of women and raised within the walls of a brothel never knowing who his real parents were.
In the style of Guy Ritchie’s direction we watched in fast frames young Arthur turn into a man who studied his fighting skills under the watchful eyes of George (Tom Wu). Arthur (Charlie Hunnam) now a man of the common people was having constant nightmares, visions of the death of his mother. Meanwhile King Vortigern, who gained power after the death of his brother Uther was trying to complete the construction of the tower but suddenly the ocean waters receded exposing the sword, Excalibur, stuck in a rock covered in sea weed. Vortigern knew that this must mean something and his creature informs him of a young boy now a man the son of Uther. Vortigern sacrificed his wife to be king and now makes a bargain with the creature to find this Arthur claim the sword and have him beheaded. Nothing though comes without a price and the creature will want its payment when due.
Arthur has pulled the sword and the king will have his day of watching this so called legend, his nephew, Arthur die in front of all the people in the kingdom. One problem for Vortigern, Merlin has sent The Mage (Astrid Berges-Frisbey) to aid Arthur in his escape and the rebellion who are supposed to fear Vortigern are growing stronger. Led by Bedivere (Djimon Hounsou) and Bill (Aidan Gillen) with the help of Arthur’s friends Wet Stick (Kingsley Ben-Adir) and Back Lack (Neil Maskell)and the powers of The Mage Arthur is taken back to their shelter to join and learn more about the rebellion. Afraid of the sword and wanting no part of it The Mage and Bedivere take Arthur to the dark lands to face his fears and learn to use the powers of the sword. Let alone to fight giant rats, bats and other hideous creatures Arthur begins to understand his destiny while learning the truth behind his nightmares.
Meanwhile King Vortigern’s powers are increasing and a battle ensues between the resistance and the soldiers of Camelot but as long as Arthur understands his own powers and that of the sword he will battle until death in hopes of good over-conquering evil. Look for part two in a theater near you since King Arthur and England have knighted the making of the round table. Why have enemies when you can have friends? True!
I absolutely loved this story which is filmed in the typical Guy Ritchie fashion which of course worked for me except for his small cameo which did not. He has a tendency to use a lot of odd yet refreshing camera angles and close-ups that most other directors don’t use nor seem to be able to accomplish. The writing is excellent, giving a sense of humor to Arthur and several other characters. The costumes were perfection and the score spot on in keeping the dramatics of the film exciting with kick-ass fighting in most every scene whether conversational or war worthy. There is not much I did not like about this film which takes an old story and polishes it up into a fascinating visual must see film on the big screen. I would only say that towards the end of the film there is a bit of a lull but other than that maybe ten minutes or so I absolutely enjoyed this film. I especially was drawn in of course by all the animals, albeit many of the unusually large scale but either way the elephants, horses, birds, wolves amongst many other creatures never get old.
The supporting cast and the extras in this Ritchie film are plenty, making it a visual piece of perfection with the help of many special effects of course. Hunnam is superb and takes on this role of Arthur with fight, emotions and pure genius. Berges-Frisbey has this cunning attitude as a sorcerer and it helps that most of her spell binding friends are animals, grant it very large animals but still all the same fantastic. Law plays evil well and overall does a nice job here by playing a heartless, greedy, selfish power in government. Huh, remind you of anyone in particular these days! Housou, Ben-Adir, Maskell, Gillen, Freddie Fox who plays Rubio are all great supporting actors that make this film great. The women in this film have smaller roles but Annabelle Wallis who plays Maggie makes for a great twist to the rebellion. Been a while since seeing Bana but I’m glad to see him land this film and even though his role is small as well, it is excellent to the story line. A huge film carried by Hunnam who is truly worthy of his Hollywood fame. I look forward to seeing the next part to this tale of King Arthur and his newly made round table.