King Arthur

Critics Consensus

The magic is gone, leaving a dreary, generic action movie.

31%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 190

59%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 389,926
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Movie Info

Historians have thought for centuries that King Arthur was only a myth, but the legend was based on a real hero, torn between his private ambitions and his public sense of duty. A reluctant leader, Arthur wishes only to leave Britain and return to the peace and stability of Rome. Before he can head for Rome, one final mission leads him and his Knights of the Round Table, Lancelot, Galahad, Bors, Tristan, and Gawain to the conclusion that when Rome is gone, Britain needs a king--someone not only to defend against the current threat of invading Saxons, but to lead the isle into a new age. Under the guidance of Merlin, a former enemy, and the beautiful, courageous Guinevere by his side, Arthur will have to find the strength within himself to change the course of history.

Cast

Clive Owen
as Arthur
Ioan Gruffudd
as Lancelot
Hugh Dancy
as Galahad
Keira Knightley
as Guinevere
Ivano Marescotti
as Bishop Germanius
Ken Stott
as Marius Honorius
Alan Devine
as British Scout
David Murray
as Merlin's Lieutenant
Ned Dennehy
as Mental Monk
Phelim Drew
as Obnoxious Monk
Des Braiden
as Third Monk
Malachy McKenna
as Cerdic Scout
Brian McGuinness
as Cerdic Officer
Patrick Leech
as Cerdic Officer
Bosco Hogan
as Bishop Decoy
David Wilmot
as Woad Killed by Lancelot
Lochlann O'Mearain
as Roman Commander
Paul McGlinchey
as Mercenary
Maria Gladkowska
as Arthur's Mother
Lesley-Ann Shaw
as Scottish Village Girl
Joe McKinney
as Mangled Saxon
Gerry O'Brien
as Woad Advisor
Brian Condon
as Cerdic Bodyguard
Elliot Henderson-Boyle
as Young Lancelot
Clive Russell
as Lancelot's Father
Stephanie Putson
as Lancelot's Mother
Graham McTavish
as Roman Officer
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Critic Reviews for King Arthur

All Critics (190) | Top Critics (41) | Fresh (59) | Rotten (131)

Audience Reviews for King Arthur

  • Feb 26, 2015
    Do yourself a favour and grab the EXTENDED edition of this movie, It's like a whole new film and it is way way better.
    Gimly M Super Reviewer
  • May 21, 2013
    There's some blarney about "searching for historical fact" woven into the story but basically what you get is an old timey adventure/propaganda/nationalism piece about how ENGLAND! (always said in capital letters w/an exclamation in this film) rose from the ashes of nations to become A LAND OF FREE MEN! (They let some women come along with 'em, too.) Ehh.
    Kevin M. W Super Reviewer
  • May 18, 2013
    Great war film! Bizarre history angle, but I loved it!
    Christian C Super Reviewer
  • Dec 31, 2012
    Oh no, people, don't you believe any of those lies that have been passed down throughout the ages, because this puppy right here is the true story of... King Arthur, or at least according to Jerry Bruckheimer, who clearly knows his history, as we saw with a certain other period war epic that he produced, "Pearl Harbor"... right? Yeah, if anyone is wondering why they got the dude who did "Training Day" to do a film like this, it makes perfect sense, because this film's going on and on about how it's an accurate telling of some bull is about as hypocritical as the LAPD. Antoine Fuqua must have heard that Bruckheimer was going to present King Arthur as a Roman cavalry officer and was sold once he heard the word "officer", thinking that he was going to get to portray Arthur as a promiscuous, drug-abusing, citizen-beating and altogether corrupt law enforcer, which, of course, leaves me to think that he also heard the word "Roman", because that does sound like something that an official in the original Los Angeles would do. Seriously though, speaking of history, before there was "Brooklyn's Finest", Antoine Fuqua did "Camelot's Finest", or rather, according to this film and, by extension, "history", "Roman's Finest", which is a title that's almost as debatable as this film's "historical" accuracy, because the Roman's had some pretty awesome warriors, and, evidently, good ol' King Artie was one of them, whether he was one of the finest or not. Actually, thinking about it, I would buy Clive Owen as one of the finest of Rome's warriors, because he is just too cool, but as far as Keira Knightley is concerned, I have a hard time believing her to be actually hot, so I'm a bit dubious about anything else she tries to convince me of, including her being a master warrior. So yeah, as you can tell, historical accuracy isn't the only thing about this film that's debatable, with one of the most debatable things pertaining to this production being, well, my actually finding it to be decent. Still, make no mistake, with all of its entertainment value, this film gets to be faulty with more than just its "historical accuracy". Time and again, Antoine Fuqua has proven himself to be a talented director, with this film even having points, if not certain consistent aspects, that go well-directed enough to help in securing the final product's decency, yet Fuqua doesn't appear to be able to tackle a film of this type, taking fantastical aspects within substance and presenting them with a lack of graceful subtlety, while often unraveling the plot with a touch of heavy-handedness and even unevenness. Fuqua's efforts are palpably ambitious, yet sloppily unassured in execution, being not in the least bit helped by David Franzoni's script, which isn't a disaster, but is decidedly a mess that stands as the final product's biggest flaw, rich with many a fault, including cheesiness, spawned from many improvable dialogue pieces, both of a fluffy nature and of a forceful dialect securing nature. The lack of subtlety in Franzoni's portrayal of this film's world and certain other aspects spawn a kind of distancing awkwardness, rivaled only by the awkwardness within Franzoni's sloppy story structure, which presents a shallow plot that is lacking in genuineness and grace, but rich with histrionic superficiality. It's difficult to deny that there is some pronounced degree of ambition in Franzoni's and other filmmakers' plot concept, and intrigue that I'll further discuss later spawns from these perhaps understandable high hopes, but Franzoni is even sloppier than Fuqua in ambition execution, or at least storytelling, as Franzoni structures this film's plot with not much in the way of assurance, and even less in the way of originality. I don't find many of the film's flaws to be as intense as they say, but when people say that this film is generic, woah boy, they ain't kidding, as the film plummets into convention after convention, and often with considerable awkward manipulativeness that spawns much predictability and further dilutes effectiveness. When it comes to substance, there is a mistake waiting for this film around every corner, and while the mistakes in question are rarely, if ever so intense that they thrust the final product into total mediocrity, they are abundance and potent enough to do some serious damage to this film's potential and true reward value. The final product is an underwhelming one, and yet, it doesn't quite plummet as deeply into underwhelmingness as they say, going saves as, at the very least, entertaining, with more than a few saving graces and lively strengths, including a predictable one: worthy score work. Usually, it's strange to dub score work a predictable great strength, but musical proficiency should come as no surprise when it comes to a film score by Hans Zimmer, and sure enough, while Zimmer's musical efforts prove to be a touch formulaic as a Hans Zimmer score, it's a worthy formula that, as usual, delivers on dynamic sweep and pronounced style that both entertains thoroughly and graces substance with fitting livliness. It's not quite one of your more distinguished efforts by Zimmer, but it is strong and adds to the selling of this film's entertainment value, as sure as Dan Weil's production designs sell you on this film's world, or at least as much as it can, as the messiness within the film's story presentation and telling taints the film with a bit of artificiality that takes you out of the film's setting, but not too much so, as Weil's and costume designer Penny Rose's efforts keep faithful to the film's mythology handsomely, while Slawomir Idziak's cinematography keeps faithful to the film's grit and fair degree of scope handsomely. Technically and stylistically, the film is strong, and at its artistically strongest when all of that technicality and style go into crafting some awesome action sequences, which is good, because this film doesn't have too much going for it outside of action, which even then, could be more prevalent, yet is prominent enough to provide distinct supplementation to livliness with its thrillingly hefty scale and dynamic staging, complimented by strong effects and immersive sound design. Now, regardless of how I make it sound, this film isn't quite as technically and stylistically sharp as certain other blockbusters of its type, but it is a well-produced blockbuster, nevertheless, which puts its $120 million to good use when it comes to technicality, even though it stands to put more effort into substance. Style can only carry a film so far, especially when the film being carried is as flawed as this one, so in order for this film to go saved from, at best, mediocrity, it needs to do some good compensating for its missteps, some of which border on barely competent, and when it comes down to sink-or-swim, this film strokes along with only so much power, as substance strengths are limited, yet it ultimately gets by, largely due to its concept, which is sloppily presented and perhaps too shamelessly emphasized as a "true" portrayal of a tale that is all but entirely mythical, but reasonably interesting enough to spark some degree of immediate intrigue in the final execution of the film's concept. This intrigue goes intensified by charm within Antoine Fuqua's direction and, of course, the cast, which has nothing to do and, of course, Keira Knightley, who isn't necessarily bad or mediocre, but kind of bland, much like certain areas of her attractiveness (She's cut and all, but come on, people), whereas most everyone else in the cast works about as much past material shortcomings as they can, delivering on charisma that is most intense within our portrayers of the legendary knights, all of whom share striking chemistry that adds to the film's reasonable degree of livliness. Really, if nothing else, this film is simply entertaining, deserving to have more substance, but still having enough style, livliness and charm to provide an adequate degree of fun that gets you by, even if you do end up wishing that this film had more to it. Bottom line, Antoine Fuqua's overambitiously heavy-handed storytelling is sloppy, though not as much as David Franzoni's which goes tainted by cheesiness and built upon a plot foundation that is shallow and, worst of all, exceedingly generic and predictable, with a distancingly superficiality and sloppiness that drive this promising project into underwhelmingness, though not quite into total mediocrty, going supported by Hans Zimmer's somewhat formulaic yet, as usual, excellent score work, as well as by excellent product designs, handsome cinematography and many a thrilling action set piece, all of which go into livening up an undeniably rather interesting story concept, which goes executed within enough charm by Antoine Fuqua, complimented by a mostly charismatic cast, to make "King Arthur" an entertaining marriage of history and legend, even if it could have been more. 2.5/5 - Fair
    Cameron J Super Reviewer

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