King Arthur: Legend of the Sword 1.0 stars

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword movie poster

Guy Ritchie takes his Guy Ritchiefier to the tale of Uther Pendragon’s son and his magical sword, thus ensuring that the lad (eventually played by Charlie Hunnam) will grow up in a whorehouse where he learns to be kind to whores and mean to bullies, that he will become an amoral operator who sees all the angles (and occasionally forecasts them), that he will exhibit hot buttered smarm and bruised-kiddie emotion in equal turns, and that he will frequently be surrounded by sparks, fire, and/or explosions. Also that he will be accompanied by a throbbing soundtrack and stop-start action that mostly conveys Ritchie’s love of stop-start action. (Is this what it’s like to watch a film on speed?) There’s something in here about how the tyrannical use of force creates rebels and sparks riots (relevance!), but it’s lost amid the tasteless violence (hey look at this spear punch through Mom!), desaturated murk (the better to highlight our hero’s white jacket), goofy humor (Which George? Kung Fu George!), and ponderous, pointless pop-psych from a pretty mage. Jude Law almost manages to chew his way through the CGI scenery and create a gloriously wicked villain, but in the end, even he succumbs to the dumb. 2017.

Matthew Lickona

Showtimes

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