King Arthur: Legend of the Sword – Critical Reception and an Unusual Tone Applied to the Medieval Genre


So last night I snagged a rental of the new King Arthur flick from Redbox after wanting to kind of watch something light. I recalled that the critical reception of this thing was pretty poor, and Reddit was frequently shitting on it for one reason or another. However, I didn’t have a tangible rationale for why some considered it “shit” and thus it was really easy to go in without much expectation or bias.

As such, this movie was pretty fucking dope. I like Guy Ritchie’s style quite a bit and think that his use of slow motion is visually impressive, his editing style is always fun and entertaining, and he’s got a knack for dialogue that makes characters feel like they’re actually engaged in a discourse instead of reading written lines. Combine the 3 together and he his often experimental style results in interesting scenes that hit more often than not.

The cinematography and editing here is phenomenal, and the composition of the visuals is always beautiful to look at. Richie manages to take a rather low-color movie and make it pop in certain places. The fashion and costume design in this is also amazing, and unlike any other medieval-style flick I’ve seen.

The most praise-worthy component has to be the fight choreography and combat scenes in this. They are insanely well done and have, for the first time, satiated a style of fighting that I’ve not often seen in pictures. I remember reading some interview about Beowulf back when that 3D version came out, and the director was saying something along the lines of “with digital camera-work, the director can make any vision actually come to life”.

A while ago I was yearning for fight scenes that looked like this cinematic cut from the Witcher 3.

If you watch this, you’ll see dynamic camera panning, use of slow-motion, insane zooms that match the movement of the characters, and essentially a sense of action and movement that simply isn’t really feasible to be shot with live action. The Witcher 3 is obviously a videogame, but this fight demonstrates some other-worldly combat abilities.

King Arthur has fight scenes just like this. It’s pretty nuts, actually. The CGI (while not perfect and evidently CGI) is actually realistic enough that I wasn’t distracted by noodle appendages and non-proportioned physiques. The camera work is incredible and the combat packs quite the punch. I’m surprised more folks didn’t praise this combat. It’s very fantasy based, and Excalibur is mythically quite the powerhouse, but damn if you don’t feel the power.

I’d love to hear everyone’s thoughts on this film and the action especially. I’d love to see more action like this in various films. Not every film will work with this, but so many superhero movies should be taking note here. My only real critique is that the film could have been ridiculously more badass if they went with a Hard-R rating instead of stripping out the actual deaths.

I suspect that this film didn’t work for so many because of the stark contrast between contemporary tone and medieval subject matter/setting. The film didn’t feel like it didn’t work for me, but I can totally see how it would be jarring for most others considering just how unusual this picture is compared to almost every other movie set in this timeline.


I like Guy Richie’s King Arthur way more than expected. It was fun, light, and stylistic as fuck. Its pace was sharp it had a variety of memorable moments. The action and combat was especially of note, and I must advocate for the filming and techniques used to depict the fantasy fighting, as they were simply gorgeous and packed a serious punch. What were y’alls takes on this?

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