I stand in awe.
As I already commented the other day, “this review makes me want to watch the movie.“
What movie? King Arthur: Legend of the Sword.
Yeah, that. Saw the trailers and it looked like a hacked together bit of CGI with little respect for the source material or the viewer.
Saw go read the whole review, but I’ll give you a taste – for I’m utterly floored, and applaud, the writing, and sheer enthusiasm that comes off the page.
Ritchie does not mess about (this will be a theme). The movie opens with 200-foot tall olyphants straight out of Lord of the Rings assaulting Camelot. Mages from the tower of the kaiju elephant’s back incinerate soldiers manning the walls. It almost veers into the lazy disintegration CGI trope, but it still looks great. Magic isn’t easy to translate to the screen; Legend of the Sword does it very well.
The fair knights of Camelot are screwed, no? Well, no, not when King Uther (this is backstory) has his Sword +5+25 of badassery. He leaps from the remains of a stone bridge onto the side of the elephant, scales it, uses the power of the Sword to dispel Mordred’s magical attacks, and single-handedly slays him. This is a king who gets shit done.
Mordred is defeated, but all is not well in the kingdom. There is fighting in the castle, and both Uther and his brother, Vortigern (played by Jude Law) are rushing their families to seeming safety. But if you’ve seen any of the trailers, or, uh, that his name is “Vortigern,” you can guess Law’s character is up to no good. While Uther is trying to get his wife and son to safety via the water (why he is running now when he just faced down a kaiju without blinking isn’t explained), Vortigern stabs his wife by the water (Why? Give it a few minutes.) A young Arthur watches Frazetta’s Death Dealer kill his mother, then is off on a boat to be raised in a brothel.
This is an origin story, but Ritchie spends about 10 minutes on what another director would have burned an hour on. A rapid fire sequence shows Arthur growing into a man. Defending prostitutes, making a little coin on the dock, learning how to fight from a Chinese guy named Kung Fu George. Why? Because it’s cool, that’s why.