“TRAVELING NERD” LANCE PAUL: The bottom bottom line — I couldn’t agree more. Ritchie’s hyper-realized feel had me, at times, hyper-nauseated. King Arthur had more jump cuts and out-of-place directorial choices than an adderall’d out, Red Bull drunken preteen. Couple that, with Dungeons and Dragons monsters ripped from the pages of a b-level fantasy novel. No heavy spoilers, but once the heavy, 5-story sized elephants attack Camelot within the first 10 mins, even blind townselders could see this LOTR ripoff coming. This is a movie that rides on the middle act — a place where the actors and actresses shines most, and Guy’s knack for flair also melds well with the storytelling; a nifyy cross between Robin Hood and Ocean’s Eleven, if you will.
But that isn’t Arthur. That notion is clearly the most glaring issue with this retelling. How Arthurian can a film be without Merlin? I mean sure, we could have made Star Wars with out Obi-Wan or Yoda; but that’s not freakin’ Star Wars. Ritchie does try to placate us with a, though beautiful, stilted-acted replacement for Merlin in the form of a mysterious mage (Àstrid Bergès-Frisbey.) Her wooden on-screen moments and near zero chemistry with Charlie Hunnam hurt every scene she was involves in. Was she “Mage” Marian? We may never know. 2/5 Where’s Merlin Books.