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YMMV / King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

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  • Broken Base: Guy Ritchie's trademark stylistic choice to intercut between scenes of characters planning the events and them actually unfolding. One half finds it a unique way to tell that kind of story and enjoys the stylism. The other thinks it's too jarring and makes it hard to care about what's going on.
  • Captain Obvious Reveal: The film seems as if it wants a big revelation that Vortigern murdered Uther when it was rather obvious from the beginning. The film draws this reveal out, so that it's not surprising at all when it finally happens.
  • Creepy Awesome: The freaky octopus-women underneath Camelot are widely agreed to be the coolest and most creative part of the movie, even by people who disliked it.
  • Critical Backlash: As noted below, several viewers rushed to the film's defence after early critical reviews were so negative. IMDB for example averages the movie a 6.8 rating.
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  • Critical Dissonance: The majority of early reviews from professional critics have... not been kind. But audience reactions and a select few critics have been much more favorable.
  • Eight Deadly Words: Accused of such in this review - namely that the film rushing through a lot of actions and events leaves it very hard to care about anything that's happening. Arthur's trip to the Dark Lands for instance should be a key part of his Character Development, but it's glossed over.
  • Fanon: It's widely assumed that The Mage is Guinevere, thanks to some news outlets reporting her as such. Word of God is that the character was Guinevere originally, but with a more straightforward role as the love interest, but got rewritten so as not to turn it into a Token Romance. As Morgan/Morgana doesn't appear in the movie - and there's no Ship Tease between the two - it's entirely possible that's who she could be instead. Or even the sorceress Nimue or Morgan's half-sister Morgause.
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  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Eline Powell, who plays one of the eldritch octopus-women, would later go on to play another demonic water-creature in Siren (2018).
  • Memetic Mutation:
  • Moral Event Horizon: Vortigan crosses by murdering his beloved wife Elsa specifically to gain more power.
  • Narm:
    • Good luck having any emotional investment in Arthur finally pulling Excalibur from the stone when you're too busy being distracted by David Beckham standing ten feet away.
    • The way Uther becomes the stone Exaclibur is embedded into is as cartoonish as you'd think it is.
    • The reveal of the Round Table gets a tad ridiculous when Arthur's men keep trying to guess what it is, even when it's obviously a table. Wouldn't be as bad if Arthur didn't spell it out at the end of the scene.
    Arthur: It's a table. You sit at it.
  • Narm Charm: This is a king Arthur film with kaiju-sized war elephants, Knights of the Round Table who start off as a Robin Hood-like gang with modern British gangster dialogue, Chinese kung fu knights, cheap high-fantasy hijinks, Guy Ritchie cinematography, Jude Law Milking the Giant Cow and a title character who started his career as a brothel bouncer. In other words, it is a completely unapologetical insanity that is hard not to enjoy one way or another.
  • Nightmare Fuel: Both in-universe and out, Vortigern's One-Winged Angel form when attacking Uther and his family. A towering Black Knight with a skull-mask and a flaming cape, wielding a double scythe as a weapon. His voice is distorted to the point of being outright demonic, and even his movements seem... off. The way he emerges from the dark the first time or savagely taunts his nephew with an offer to "play" in the final battle make every scene with this form as nail-bitingly chilling as they are cool to watch.
  • One-Scene Wonder:
    • The infamous elephants get only a single scene but use every moment of it to be awesome.
    • Merlin's appearance is even shorter - perhaps three seconds that show him forging Excalibur, decked out in a cowled robe and looking unspeakably badass in the process.
    • Maggie gets just three scenes - except a brief shot of her in prison in the climax - but Annabelle Wallis really makes her presence known; flattering Vortigan and acting as a spy for the resistance.
    • The siren-creatures underneath Camelot only appear briefly, but they're very memorable.
  • Slow-Paced Beginning: It's said by many reviewers that the film takes a long time to get going, and it's not until the decision to cut off Vortigan's trade, that the pace settles down.
  • Special Effect Failure: Any time Arthur fights with the power of Excalibur, which highlights how plastic looking Arthur and his enemies look with all that CGI. The dynamic cinematography does not help.
  • Spiritual Adaptation:
    • Multiple reviews have noted that with a hero that gains superpowers from his sword battling a tyrant that wears the face of a skull, the movie makes for an entertaining adaptation of HeMan and the Masters of the Universe.
    • And considering this is an Arthurian Adaptation with more than a little Video Game and Anime influence to its Action style, this film can be said to be a live-action spiritual successor of Fate/stay night—or, since Arthur is actually male in this storyline, a prequel episode to Fate/Prototype.
    • Not to mention the fact the form taken by Vortigern can also be compared to Shao Kahn from Mortal Kombat or the Skull Knight from Berserk.
    • This film being a fantasy film directed by Guy Ritchie with a street-born hero wielding a MacGuffin against a powerful mage suggests that this is a predecessor to the Aladdin remake.
    • The final battle between Arthur and Vortigern got some comparisons to Dark Souls.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: Some fans have theorised that a lot of the negative reviews come from how different the film is from more traditional Arthurian myth retellings.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Igraine is killed off in the opening and not even given more than a passing mention afterwards. It would have been interesting to see her raise Arthur in the brothel as a Fallen Princess.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: Understandable since the original cut was apparently three and a half hours:
    • Arthur's trip to the Dark Lands is reduced to a quick montage, with only a glimpse of the various creatures he encounters there. His trip there would be enough material for one movie of its own.
    • The resistance cutting off Vortigan's resources is a minor set-up of the second act turning point. It would have been quite interesting to show them slowly depriving him of any power or allies, but this is glossed over.
    • Maggie's role as the spy for the resistance is downplayed. It's never shown how she managed to pass information to them, or how Vortigan figured it out for that matter.
    • Vortigan's double cross of Mordred is also a very interesting possibility that is told entirely in second-hand, years after it happened.
    • Bill just says he has a history with Mercia and nothing more is elaborated on.
    • The movie in general seems to have been an interesting and action oriented King Arthur video game that somehow transformed into a film.
  • Unexpected Character: Wait, what's Mordred doing showing up way earlier than he did in the original Arthurian legends?
  • What an Idiot!: Vortigern, Arthur said he has no interest in taking the throne from you and even suggested that he quietly leave the city. You don't have to make a grandiose spectacle out of executing him, you can just either listen to his advice and let him flee or just kill him in his cell without a fuss.
  • The Woobie: Poor Lucy, Arthur's friend in the brothel. She's introduced having been hit by a Viking client just For the Evulz. After Arthur fights the Viking in her honour, this brings the royal army down upon them. And Lucy ends up killed in front of Arthur.

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