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Movie Review: ‘King Arthur: Legend of the Sword’ Is a Loud and Lumbering Blockbuster

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King Arthur Movie Review MovieSpoon.com

[dropcap]G[/dropcap]uy Ritchie rarely makes boring films and begins King Arthur: Legend of the Sword with a swift kick to the usually dreary genre. He amps up everything in the opening fight sequence from the size of the armies, to the volume of the soundtrack, to the height of the elephants charging into combat. Mages throw incinerating balls of fire and a mighty king wields a magic sword with blue magic in his eyes. Even the initial origins of Arthur are revealed in the most fast-paced and macho of brisk montages.

King Arthur Movie Review MovieSpoon.com

Charlie Hunnam has his moment of glory.

It was a strong enough opening to make me sit up for a picture that might not bore me to tears with hulky warriors swinging swords in slow motion. It’s just too bad that Ritchie’s snappy direction and wit only comes in the form of small bursts to briefly defibrillate a mostly standard action picture.

Ritchie does load his picture up with enough ridiculous flash and spectacle to please any summer moviegoer. There are mages who turn their eyes different hues as they manipulate animals to attack soldiers. There’s a school of martial arts where Arthur learns the art of fighting and growing really big muscles. The movie states it takes place in Londinium, but it must be adjacent to Monster Island as oversized elephants, birds and pythons charge into castles and lay waste to hordes of armies. Mythic figures crowd the screen, from the lady of the lake that hands Arthur his sword to a tentacle beast that tempts those who want power.

King Arthur Movie Review MovieSpoon.com

Jude Law plays Arthur’s foe.

How can a movie have all this, while shirking nearly all historical accuracy, and still appear as bland and paint-by-numbers as any other summer movie about knights and kingdoms? Maybe Ritchie should’ve added in a giant robot for good measure. You know, one made of stone and powered by magic so it seems slightly in style with the era.

Stepping into the role of Arthur is the muscle-bound Charlie Hunnam, tasked with playing a character that is equal parts brave warrior and quick-witted strategist. You can probably guess which one he’s better suited towards from his rippling chest and expressionless face. Ritchie’s script certainly gives Hunnam plenty of lines to display how this boy is more than a brainless brute who would be a king, but Hunnam just doesn’t have the charisma to make these snappy lines as amusing as they should be. He’s far better at gaining laughs from his exasperated exhales after defeating a horde of soldiers than trying to be a smartass when detailing his plans of attack.

Also looking the role more than playing it well is Jude Law as the jealous King Vortigern, conspiring with dark magical forces to be a powerful mage and keep Arthur off the throne. He’s not given much to work with here as a quietly sinister tyrant that could stand to be more vicious. So understated is his fury that it must be personified in the form of a flaming CGI warrior rather than watching Law grit his teeth while trading swords with Hunnam. Sure, he’ll slit a throat here, slice an ear there and even kill his own family for more power, but he should be a little more evil in person before he lets the visual effects take over his role.

King Arthur Movie Review MovieSpoon.com

Muscles galore in ‘King Arthur: Legend of the Sword.’

Joining Arthur in his quest to overthrow the king is a collective cast of great actors who must quietly step aside for when Arthur fights and then step to the front to take an arrow for him. Djimon Hounsou and Aidan Gillen have their moments of charisma that is struggling to escape these supporting roles. So shoved aside were these characters that even Arthur’s lead female assistant of a mage played by Àstrid Bergès-Frisbey is never once referred to by a name other than mage. She seems to only be present to push Arthur along towards the path of becoming a king and to summon magical creatures for the big action sequences. Only from the shadows, of course. We wouldn’t want her to get in the way of all those slow-motion shots of Hunnam.

Related: Movie Review: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Is Funny, Fast & Familiar

The film will occasionally break from its predictable course where some of Guy Ritchie’s trademark direction and editing can shine. The obligatory training sequence where Arthur is left to fight in a dark forest is portrayed with non-linear editing, quick cuts and an energetically macho soundtrack. Arthur’s plans of attack are laid out quickly and calculatively with plenty of slick talk and fast visions, echoing Ritchie’s stylization his heist picture Snatch. It’s as if the director is aware of these scenes and does his best to not waste our time with lingering on them for too long. I’ll gladly take a 4-minute montage of Arthur slicing up monsters in the woods as opposed to a 20-minute sequence where the fights are carried out far longer than they should be.

Read more for the rest of the King Arthur: Legend of the Sword movie review:

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Izzy

Movie Magic: The De-Aging Technique of The Irishman

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Robert DeNiro de-agedHave you read Izzy yet? If so, you know that Izzy makes the apples that give the Gods their youth and immortality. It also seems Robert De Niro discovered one of Izzy’s apples too… In Martin Scorsese’s upcoming biographical film, he stars as Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran, a labor union leader and alleged hitman for the Bufalino crime family. The trailer for the movie, which will premieres NEXT WEEK (!), also features a “de-aged” De Niro. “We’re so used to watching them as the older faces,” Scorsese said in an interview on the A24 podcast. “Does it change the eyes at all? …If that’s the case, what was in the eyes that I liked? Was it intensity? Was it gravitas? Was it threat?…How do we get that? I don’t know.” Some might consider this magic and I for one can’t wait to see the impact of Izzy’s apples on screen for myself. ????

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“Captain Marvel” Retains Top Slot at the Box Office

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It’s no surprise that in its second weekend, the first Marvel Cinematic Universe of 2019 is still riding high. Captain Marvel, the latest in the MCU with Brie Larson starring as the lead, generated another $69 million over the weekend, placing its domestic total at $266 million. Tallying up the international box office, the film’s global total to date is $760 million. Despite the online controversy, the film is looking to be another strong box office smash for Disney and Marvel.

As for the premieres for the weekend, and there were plenty, they were all over the map. Just below Captain Marvel was the animated adventure Wonder Park, bringing in $16 million, another film with controversy when the director’s name was removed from the picture after sexual harassment charges. Five Feet Apart, the dying teen drama about a romance amid cystic fibrosis, only came in at #3 with a weekend gross of $13 million. And debuting the lowest in the top 10 for debuts was Captive State, a sci-fi dystopian tale, only making $3 million. The film debuted so low the little film No Manches Frida 2 was able to sneak about it at #6 with a gross of $3.8 million.

Drops were fairly low all around for the returning films, mostly because Captain Marvel was dominating the previous weekend. The only milestone worth noting is that The LEGO Movie 2, after six weeks at the box office, finally cracked $100 million. And the sun is now setting on Green Book’s post-Oscar run by coming in at #10 for the final weekend of its top 10 run over the past few weeks.

View the full top ten weekend box office results below:

Captain Marvel ($69,318,000)

Wonder Park ($16,000,000)

Five Feet Apart ($13,150,000)

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World ($9,345,000)

Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral ($8,085,000)

No Manches Frida 2 ($3,894,000)

Captive State ($3,163,000)

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part ($2,135,000)

Alita: Battle Angel ($1,900,000)

Green Book ($1,277,000)

Next weekend, Captain Marvel may very well have some competition when Jordan Peele’s new horror film Us hits over 3,600 theaters.

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“Dragon” Continues To Soar, “Funeral” Close Behind, “Green Book” Back

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With little competition for the weekend, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, the third in the animated fantasy saga, was able to secure the box office once more. In its second weekend, the animated epic made $30 million to push its domestic total to $97 million. So far the film has done about the same as the previous film and is on track to stay in the top 10 for a few more weeks in March.

Debuts this weekend were small with one big exception. Tyler Perry’s latest Madea film, A Madea Family Funeral, naturally made a relatively big splash with its dedicated audience. Starting at #2, the film made $27 million for its first weekend. No word on the budget yet but it’s most likely on a budget as most Tyler Perry productions are, so it’s safe to call this a success, especially for debuting with a box office so close to Dragon.

The rest of the premieres were not as strong at all. Greta, the new thriller starring Chloe Moretz, debuted all the way down at #8 with $4.5 million box office. To be fair, however, the film was in a constant battle for its spot as three other films also reported earnings around $4 million for the weekend. Of note, Green Book, fresh off winning the Academy Award for Best Picture one weekend ago, splashed back into more theaters to arise even higher in the top 10 with its domestic total now sitting at $73 million. Don’t count on it remaining there long as bigger blockbusters will be swooping as we plow through the last remnants of winter movies.

Check out the full listing of the top 10 box office weekend results below:

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World ($30,046,000)

Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral ($27,050,000)

Alita: Battle Angel ($7,000,000)

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part ($6,615,000)

Green Book ($4,711,000)

Fighting With My Family ($4,691,284)

Isn’t it Romantic ($4,645,000)

Greta ($4,585,000)

What Men Want ($2,700,000)

Happy Death Day 2U ($2,516,000)

Next weekend is once again all about Marvel as their latest superhero solo film, Captain Marvel, will be appearing in 4,100 theaters.

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