2017 Certificate: 12

Synopsis

Director Guy Ritchie turns the (round) tables on tradition with this rip-roaring reworking of the medieval legend. When his father King Uther (Eric Bana) is killed and his treacherous uncle Vortigern (Jude Law) seizes the throne, the young Arthur escapes to Londinium where he grows up to be a king himself - of the street variety. But Arthur's real birthright is revealed when fate returns him to Camelot, resting place of the mighty sword Excalibur which can only be freed by the true king. Alack, 'tis all part of Voltigern's evil plan... Serving up sorcery and swordplay with bags of roguish banter, 'tis verily an Excal-lent adventure.

Director

  • Guy Ritchie

Cast

  • Charlie Hunnam

  • Jude Law

  • Djimon Hounsou

  • Astrid Bergès-Frisbey

  • Aidan Gillen

  • Eric Bana

  • Katie McGrath

  • Annabelle Wallis

  • Freddie Fox

Review

After toying with the legacy of one Arthur (Sir Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes), Guy Ritchie here takes the myth out of another with a typically larky makeover of the Camelot tale.

Prepare for warlocks, casting shocks (David Beckham, oh dear) and at least two genuinely smokin' battles as Ritchie races through Arthur's journey to greatness like a bat out of hell - or in this case, a cave full of them.

No sooner has King Uther (Bana) rid Camelot of the evil sorcerer Mordred and his dark hordes than he is betrayed by his own brother Vortigern (Law), leaving his orphaned son Arthur to be raised in a Londinium brothel where he grows up to be a bona fide son of anarchy (Charlie Hunnam). And we're barely 10 minutes in.

A bit of narrative ducking and diving sends Arthur back to Camelot where he plucks Uther's sword from a dirty great rock, thus proving that he is the true heir to England's throne. Then it all kicks off.

Because now that Vortigern has flushed him out, he can get rid of him.

But while he has the forces of darkness and chief goons Geoff Bell and Peter Ferdinando on his side, Arthur has a much trustier crew to rely on, including wise knight Bedevere (Djimon Hounsou), ace bowman Goosefat Bill (Aiden Gillen), and bezzy mates Rubio (Freddie Fox), Wet Stick (Kingsley Ben-Adir) and Back Lack (Neil Maskell)

Not to mention his own personal mage, the dour and somewhat drably named Mage (Astrid Bergès-Frisbey).

Supplementing his already hefty cast with an array of giant beasts and an inexhaustible supply of disposable combatants, Ritchie allows precious few breaks in the action.

When he does, any pretence at seriousness is drowned out on a wave of geezerish banter. And never mind all that "We happy few..." hogwash, this king inspires by saying what he means: "George, I need you to go back to London to get the lads."

No Merlin in this one, though - apparently Ritchie is saving him for his next Camelot caper. But there are some massive elephants. Sorted.​

Elliott Noble