I did not expect a movie about King Arthur to start with what seemed to be an invasion of evil elephants, but this is not a movie very interested in the predictable.
The style is tremendous as director Guy Ritchie goes balls to the wall (an early montage covering Arthur’s growth from child to man had me unthinkably amped for what would follow), but the plot is exceedingly confusing, undercooked, and divergent from traditional King Arthur mythology. Appreciating the sound and visuals of the film in isolation is easy enough, as the music is fantastic (credit to composer Daniel Pemberton, who also did a fantastic job with Steve Jobs), and the visuals are thrilling when they’re in traditional Ritchie style, but they don’t really come together to form something especially cohesive or consistently compelling.
The casting is an issue. Aiden Gillen is as magnetic and quirky as ever, Àstrid Bergès-Frisbey does an intriguing turn as a mage but is let down by the script, Dijimon Honsou does very well with what he’s given, and Jude Law is eminently enjoyable in his turn as the villain. But the lead, Charlie Hunnam, is like a black hole of charisma, as are most of his friends, and his father, played clumsily by Eric Bana.
The moments where the music would swell and Ritchie would let loose with some stylish montage or editing would have me loving the film, but the connective tissue between those moments was poor, and the film ends clumsily. I enjoyed my time with it, but wish it could have been a lot more. I give it three seats at the Round Table, and an enchanted sword.