King Arthur is one of the most overused legends. For whatever reason, people are enamored about the boy who would become ruler by pulling a sword out of a stone. Past attempts to make the story intriguing to a broader movie audience have been a mixed bag. "King Arthur: Legend of the Sword" takes a modern storytelling approach, but also serves as a detriment to a legend of yore.

About the film

"King Arthur: Legend of the Sword" is a fantasy movie. Directed, produced, and written by Guy Ritchie, the film was released on May 12, 2017.

A boy raised in a brothel discovers by chance that he is the blood relative of the deposed king after he's able to pull a magic sword from a stone in Camelot.

Initially, Arthur is hesitant to make any claim to the throne, satisfied with his past life. But as his friends are hunted down and the whole kingdom's future hangs in the balance, he has no choice but to try to assume his rightful title as the king.

Prepare to be overwhelmed

The immediate thing one would notice upon watching this movie is how oddly it is paced. There are several segments that are incredibly jumpy, designed to seemingly overwhelm one's eyes rather than actually detail events that are taking place. The technique feels too modern for the work. Additionally, when the pace of "King Arthur" slows down, the adrenaline crash makes it hard to sit through scenes of dialogue.

A similar claim could be made about the fighting scenes.

While most are hand-to-hand, with bow and arrows, or simply swords, the clashing of metal elicits a pyrotechnic scene that doesn't really fit the era of the tale. It serves as a bit of a discordant distraction in the movie.

As for the acting itself, King Arthur, played by Charlie Hunnam, gets the job done. He's charming, handsome, and strong, and not much else.

He isn't really asked to do more, though. He has a quick enough wit to come off as a more sarcastic King Arthur than what the legend tells.

The rest of the ensemble sold their parts well. Nobody was particularly spectacular outside of Jude Law, who played the evil Vortigern. Astrid Berges-Frisbey was also entertaining as the brooding mage, even though a lot of her scenes were simply standing still with darkening eyes as she attempted to control the forces around Arthur.

The exception to this is soccer legend David Beckham. He made a brief cameo as the soldier in charge of the sword drawings in Camelot. His voice was airy and his smile was broad, which didn't really fit with the rest of the movie. Perhaps he would've been better suited in a role without dialogue.

Making a comparison

The plot of the movie was a bit flimsy, growing even more convoluted with the constant flashbacks and shaky jump cuts. Pacing was also uncomfortable, with the legend of the story taking up a chunk of the time, but the development of Arthur as a hero developing rather flippantly. No character development takes place anywhere, because the breadth of characters explored is just too grandiose.

In some ways, the movie felt reminiscent of the helter skelter pace of "Mad Max: Fury Road." Everything in that film was intensely-paced, with the most memorable moments allowing no time for audiences to catch their breath. The difference is that "Mad Max" didn't bite off more than it could chew. It focused primarily on three characters and let the rest of the chips fall where they may.

"King Arthur" tried to cover too much ground in two hours, resulting in the diminishing of everything. Everything felt rushed for the sake of getting from Point A to Point B. The discombobulation of events overrode the action and occasional moments of humor the film provided.

Final thoughts

The movie concludes with King Arthur assuming his throne, knighting some friends, and beginning the process of building some sort of round table in the middle of his palace.

The expectation is that this franchise will spawn at least six films. That seems mighty ambitious. If the filmmakers decide to stick with the same style, despite the fun that could be had, count me out.

Rating: C+