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‘King Arthur: Legend of the Sword’ Critical Roundup: Reviewers Call Guy Ritchie’s Blockbuster ‘Boring,’ ‘Loud’ and ‘Exhausting’

Critics are not too impressed with Ritchie’s fantasy action/adventure film.

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

“King Arthur: Legend of the Sword”

Warner Bros.

The reviews are in for “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword,” which opens in theaters this Friday, May 12. But critics aren’t raving about Guy Ritchie’s new take on the classic Excalibur tale, which stars Charlie Hunnam in the title role. In his C- review, IndieWire’s David Ehrlich describes the blockbuster as “part ‘Game of Thrones,’ part ‘Snatch,’ and almost all bad.” He adds, “If it weren’t so boring, it would almost be impressive how fast — and how comprehensively — Ritchie and fellow screenwriters Lionel Wigram and Joby Harold are able to make a mess of things.”

READ MORE: ‘King Arthur: Legend of the Sword’ Trailer: Jude Law’s Villainous Vortigern Takes Center Stage in Final Look

In his C+ review, Entertainment Weekly’s Kevin P. Sullivan writes:

“There are too many phony-looking special-effects sequences of giant marauding elephants and magical eel creatures to get to. It doesn’t matter if they don’t help the story; what seems to matter is that Ritchie had enough money at his disposal to conjure them, so why not spend it? Hunnam and his charismatic band of merry pranksters get lost in the sea of pixels. Which is a shame. Because ‘King Arthur’ could have been a rollicking blast. Instead it’s just another wannabe blockbuster with too much flash and not enough soul.”

The Hollywood Reporter’s Todd McCarthy notes:

“Loud, bombastic and thuddingly obvious, this is a vulgar movie for vulgar times […] From one moment to the next, it’s possible to on some level enjoy the shaking up of tired conventions in a swordplay fantasy such as this and then to be dismayed by the lowbrow vulgarity of what’s ended up onscreen. The film gives with one hand and takes away with the other, which can be frustrating in what’s meant to be entertainment.”

READ MORE: ‘King Arthur: Legend of the Sword’: Guy Ritchie’s Delayed Sword-in-the-Stone Story Gets Gritty New Look — Watch

In his two stars (out of five) review, Telegraph’s Robbie Collin describes Camelot as “a very silly place,” and notes:

“Ritchie’s film – the initial installment in a proposed series of six, and first major Arthur picture since Antoine Fuqua’s 2004 attempt with Clive Owen and Keira Knightley – is so misshapen and inert, your imagination and memory never come close to being sparked by it. Just sticking with the plot soaks up every ounce of concentration you have.”

The Wrap’s Alonso Duralde writes:

“Ritchie and his regular editor James Herbert cut up the action scenes with the desperation of the life of the party who’s secretly afraid to go home to his empty apartment. ‘King Arthur’ seems constantly panicked that the audience’s attention span won’t last another second, so each moment is a frenzy of sight and sound (particularly Daniel Pemberton’s emphatically percussive score), and the ultimate effect is more exhausting than exhilarating.”

Variety’s Peter Debruge notes that the film does not stay true to the original story:

“In Ritchie’s over-the-top, rock-and-roll ‘King Arthur: Legend of the Sword,’ the less you know about the legend in question, the better. The brash British director has thrown out nearly all preexisting Athurian notions and come up with a smoking new riff on the famous sword-in-the-stone tale that makes ‘Monty Python and the Holy Grail’ look like a work of rigorous historical scholarship by comparison.”

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