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. “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword,” which Ritchie co-wrote with Joby Harold and Lionel Wigram, applies the same kind of whirling, modern, masculine energy to Arthur and Excalibur that he applied (somewhat exhaustingly) to Holmes and Watson, and the results are slickly, dumbly entertaining. Guy Ritchie is what you would get if Michael Bay had a sense of humor and wasn’t a moron.
After a spectacular pre-credits battle that involves, among other things, giant war elephants and the death of Arthur’s father, Uther (Eric Bana), we get a brisk montage of young Artie growing up a streetwise urchin cared for by prostitutes in the bustling town of Londinium. As an adult (played by Charlie Hunnam), Arthur is unaware that tyrannical king Vortigern (a coldly sniveling Jude Law) is his uncle, much less that Uncle Vort is searching the kingdom for him. There’s this sword stuck in a rock, you see, and the only person who can pull it out is Uther’s son and the rightful heir to the throne; Vortigern wants to find this person and kill him.
Vortigern, it should be mentioned, is using dark magic to maintain his usurped authority and amass more power, having made a deal with a many-tentacled octopus-witch, as one does.
[Continue reading at Crooked Marquee.]
B (2 hrs., 6 min.; )