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Film / Robin Hood (2018)

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"You are a Crusader. Now you have to be a warrior. You wanted to steal, now's your time."
Little John

Robin Hood is a 2018 swashbuckler film directed by Otto Bathurst (director of Black Mirror: The National Anthem and Peaky Blinders).

Taron Egerton stars as the eponymous character, a war-hardened Crusader with a knack for archery. With the help of Little John (Jamie Foxx) and an outlaw group called the Merry Men, Robin takes it upon himself to take down the corrupt English crown, which claims the Sheriff of Nottingham (Ben Mendelsohn) as one of its enforcers. Jamie Dornan, Tim Minchin and Eve Hewson (Bono's daughter) also star as Will Scarlet, Friar Tuck and Maid Marian respectively.

Previews: Teaser, Trailer 1, Trailer 2.

Robin Hood contains examples of:

  • Adaptational Badass: John is of average size in this telling, and to compensate his badassery is ratcheted up considerably.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Will Scarlet is portrayed much more negatively than prior incarnations, with his desire to make things better for the people of Nottingham being motivated by a desire to raise himself to the high classes through playing the political game rather than genuine concern. His main reaction to Marian uncovering the Sheriff's dealings with the Arabians is to rant that she'll ruin everything for him. This, and his jealousy over Marian and Robin's connection eventually leads him to pull a Face–Heel Turn and become the new Sheriff of Nottingham.
  • Adapted Out: King John.
  • Anachronism Stew: Rather than approaching it with a straightforward form of "realism" à la the 2010 film, this adaption goes for a deliberately stylized approach to the Robin Hood myths, transplanting several modern concepts and designs in the setting, including rapid-fire ballistas, medieval vests made to resemble modern flak jackets, bandana-wearing and Molotov cocktail-throwing rebels, printed draft letters, etc.
  • Annoying Arrows: Robin gets hit by three arrows in the course of the film. Each is immediately pulled out. He’s fine.
  • Arc Words: "The big table."
  • Arrow Catch: John is able to catch one of Robin's arrows at fairly close range with his staff. Justified in-story, as John is trying to demonstrate that Robin's form of archery isn't nearly fast enough.
  • Artistic License – Geology: In mines located directly across the river from Nottingham, the locals seem to be mining and smelting iron. This seems incredibly unlikely as Nottingham is built upon sandstone.
  • Artistic License – History: Most of the outfits, haircuts and props look rather advanced, like Robin's hoodie jacket and Nottingham's suit with lapels.
  • Artistic License – Physics: In the final act, hundreds of bags full of money are loaded onto a single barge with several people on board. The weight of the money alone would've sunk the small wooden barge.
  • Artistic License – Politics: The position of Sheriff in medieval England was appointed by the King himself or whoever was currently ruling in his place (i.e. Prince John or Eleanor of Aquitaine, the Queen mother). It was most definitely not a position appointed by the church.
    • Robin is a "lord," but the filmmakers mostly seem to use that term of mean that he's rich, not that he rules over territory. He's got more money than the peasants, but like them, he's subject to the country's bad laws...with no acknowledgment that, in a feudal system, he'd be the one enforcing those laws on the king's behalf.
  • Badass Longcoat: The sheriff sports one throughout the film that's more than a little reminiscent of the ones worn by Nazi officers.
  • Beard of Evil: Averted. The Sheriff of Nottingham is clean-shaven in this film. However, in the end it is revealed that the clean-shaven Sheriff is NOT ''the Sheriff'' from the original Robin Hood tale.
  • Christianity is Catholic: Justified, since the story takes place in England centuries before Martin Luther was born and when Roman-Catholicism was the state-mandated religion in many West European countries, including England. However, due to the extreme Anachronism Stew, the audience might be mistaken into assuming that the movie takes place well after 1534, when the Church of England was founded.
  • Clothing Combat: During their fight in the Holy Land, John uses his sash to choke Robin into unconsciousness.
  • Composite Character: Jamie Foxx's casting as Little John has caused some to question the realism of a black man being in England in The High Middle Ages, but this version of the character is explained to have Moorish background. In other words, he's a mashup of the traditional Little John with the modern trend of having a Moorish/Saracen member of the Merry Men, as seen in modern Robin Hood works starting with Robin of Sherwood, cemented by Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and continued by other adaptations like the BBC's Robin Hood. It's worth noting that he's not the only black person shown: there are multiple amongst the downtrodden of Nottingham.
  • Convection, Schmonvection: Robin and Gisborne outrun a cascade of molten iron from an overturned crucible, despite the fact the heat should have barbecued them where they stood
  • Corrupt Politician: Will Scarlet gradually falls into this trope throughout the film as it becomes clear he's using the plight of the people to further his own political ambitions. Goes all the way at the end and is appointed the new Sheriff of Nottingham.
  • Cut His Heart Out with a Spoon: The Sheriff threatens to have Hood boiled alive in his own piss after he's exposed as Robin.
  • Darker and Edgier: Downplayed. While the film have some darkness to it, this version isn't nearly as "gritty" as the 2010 adaptation starring Russell Crowe.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The uniforms Robin and other soldiers wear during the Crusades look like medieval versions of the flak jackets and khaki fatigues commonly worn by modern western soldiers in the Middle East. The way they draw their bows are also not dissimilar to how said soldiers hold assault rifles, automatic crossbows resembling machinegun fire and bundled arrow launchers evoking rocket-propelled grenades. Also, the Sheriff of Nottingham is introduced giving a speech which greatly resembles George W. Bush's "they hate our freedoms" speech. Then there's the ending; a number of common citizens wearing hoods and masks, hurling molotov cocktails at soldiers who appear to be wearing riot gear... Robin Hood, agent of ANTIFA?
  • Establishing Character Moment: Disgusted by Gisborne's brutality to Muslim captives, Robin attempts to save the life of John's son (despite their being on opposite sides) when Gisborne goes back on his word and orders him executed. He fails, but it's this that demonstrates his innate goodness to John.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": The Sheriff of Nottingham isn't referred to by name.
  • Exact Words: While pretending to be a beggar as a way to provide a distraction, Little John claims to be a veteran who lost a hand during the crusades. He just didn't say which side he fought for.
  • Expy: The Sheriff is basically a slightly more intimidating version of Orson Krennic, being an evil bureaucrat who by all accounts should be The Dreaded but is instead a Butt-Monkey and No-Respect Guy whose main goal is getting a promotion from his superiors and whose plans go awry at practically every turn, thereby rendering his Undignified Death somewhat dissatisfying.
  • Faceless Goons: The Sheriff's soldiers all wear face-concealing helmets.
  • Freudian Excuse: The Sheriff at one point reveals a little of his backstory to Robin, noting that the fathers of the lords he so despises used to beat him and the other boys in his school while drunk on brandy, even sending them out to buy the canes with which they'd receive further beatings. The future sheriff realised he could either let them beat the strength out of him, or beat the strength into him.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Will Scarlet is badly burned down one side of his face by his own molotov cocktail when he gets distracted by seeing Robin and Marian kissing. Not long after he undergoes a Face–Heel Turn and becomes the new sheriff.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Weirdly, not Prince John. The Church, specifically the Cardinal, are the force driving the Sheriff to greater acts of extorting the population as the film goes on.
  • Gun Fu: Robin pulls off some crazy moves with a bow reminiscent of Legolas from the Lord of the Rings movies, or some of John Woo's gunplay movies.
  • HA HA HA—No: The Sheriff and the priest laugh at Friar Tuck's suggestion, then the priest suddenly shouts at them both to be quiet.
  • Handicapped Badass: Little John loses a hand to Gisborne as he's about to finish off Robin. Doesn't make him the slightest bit less badass for the rest of the movie.
  • Heroic BSoD: Robin has one when he returns and finds Locksley Manor in ruins and Marian with Will. Again later when the carnage of his revolt reminds him too much of the slaughter of the Crusades, and he gives himself up to prevent further bloodshed.
  • The High Middle Ages: Takes place during The Crusades. Robin and Little John are both veterans of the Third Crusade.
  • Honor Before Reason: Near the end of the film Robin spares Gisborne's life and offers him a peace on account of his saving Robin from John near the start of the movie, despite it being obvious that he isn't going to reciprocate. Marian has no such compunctions and smashes his face in with a rock.
  • Improvised Zipline: At the mines, Robin jumps off an elevated walkway and hooks his bow over a conveniently placed rope; sliding down it to land in the back of John's wagon.
  • Industrial Ghetto: The Sheriff of Nottingham has exiled many of the citizens from Nottingham and into the coal mine city known as 'The Slags' across the river to live and toil in dangerous conditions.
  • Kick the Dog: The Sheriff. Constantly. Taunting John about his son's death is probably the lowlight.
  • The Mentor: Little John acts as this to Robin, teaching him quick bow shooting skills. He later gets captured by the bad guys but surprisingly avoids falling victim to Mentor Occupational Hazard, and even gets to be the one to kill the Sheriff of Notthingham along with Robin Hood.
  • Molotov Cocktail: Tuck equips the rioters in Nottingham with firebombs that they use against the sheriff's guards.
  • Mouth of Sauron: The Bishop of Hereford is this for the Cardinal.
  • Movie Superheroes Wear Black: Robin's "Hood" outfit is technically green, but it's so dark that you can't tell most of the time.
  • MST3K Mantra: Invoked. The movie literally starts with Friar Tuck narrating that he won't try to tell an accurate story for the sake of keeping the audience focused.
  • Not His Sled: The Sheriff of Nottingham is not the Sheriff from the original tale about Robin Hood. Instead, this Sheriff gets killed before Robin Hood and his followers even move to the Sherwood Forrest, and Will Scarlet becomes the new Sheriff who will continue the fight against Robin Hood.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: An interesting variant, in that while Robin plays this straight when he's pretending to be an uncaring, arrogant toff to Marian and Will, when he's with the Sheriff he dials it down enough that while he's still playing subservient he looks a lot more competent and helpful than the Sheriff's other lackeys - which, as he aims to get in the Sheriff's good graces enough to uncover his plan, is exactly the point.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: Little John lost his son in the crusades.
  • Outrun the Fireball: In a variant, Robin and Gisborne outran a cascade of molten iron that spills out of an upset crucible and comes racing towards them.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Subverted; Robin's disguise might work against the Sheriff's guards, but falls spectacularly flat when it comes to people who really know him. Marian only needs to get close enough and hear him shouting to realize it's him.
    Marian: Rob?
    Robin: How did you know it was me?
    Marian: You call that a disguise? [pulls down his mask]
    Robin: ...well, it fooled everybody else!
    Marian: I'm not everyone else!
  • Percussive Pickpocket: Tuck collides with Lord Pemberton and spills a drink on him, using the opportunity to lift his keys at the same time.
  • Purely Aesthetic Era: Borders on this with all the outrageous Anachronism Stew. For instance, Nottingham's soldiers also wield riot shields and folding crossbows resembling guns against the Merry Men, who look like modern protesters with Molotov cocktails in glass bottles.
  • Race Lift: Little John as portrayed by Jamie Foxx is a Moor, unlike in the original stories of the Robin Hood legend, but see Composite Character above.
  • Schizo Tech: While still supposedly set during The Crusades, the film's connections to actual history could be charitably described as "loose", with much of the clothing and weaponry looking extremely modern if not futuristic/post-apocalyptic.
  • Science Fantasy: The film seems to have a bit of this aesthetic, which is unusual for the classic Robin Hood story.
  • Sequel Hook: The film ends by setting up Will Scarlet as the new Sheriff of Nottingham as well as the formation of Robin's Merry Men basing themselves out of Sherwood.
  • Shooting Gallery: John sets up a medieval version of a 'Shoot, Don't Shoot' gallery when training Robin in archery.
  • Sinister Minister: The Cardinal is part of a conspiracy with the Sheriff to ally with the Saracens and overthrow the King of England.
  • Smoke and Fire Factory: It's not clear what they are mining in Nottingham (although it is implied to iron, which raises its own issues), but the process requires sending blasts of fire skywards at regular intervals. Lack of even the most rudimentary safety measures can probably be Handwaved as it being the middle ages.
  • Training Montage: John teaches Robin to shoot multiple arrows rapidly, not even sighting to aim.
  • Triumphant Reprise: Becoming the Hood, which plays whenever "The Hood" does something badass, plays one last time as the band of renegades that would ultimately become the Merry Men sucessfully escape with the sherriff's money.
  • Underside Ride: Robin attaches himself to the underside of the tax wagon in order to get taken inside the treasury.
  • The Unpronounceable: John's true name is Yahya ibn Umar (Yahya son of Umar), and when Robin has trouble saying "Yahya", he just tells Robin to call him the equivalent in English, "John". Much the same happens with Tuck later.
  • Unwilling Suspension: Clayton is grabbed by the Moors and left dangling by his ankles over the town square as bait in a trap for the other crusaders.
  • You Shall Not Pass!: Little John stays behind at the mines to hold off the sheriff's guards long enough for Robin and Marian to escape and put the main plan into operation.

"A thousand pounds for the man who brings me Hood!"