Guy Ritchie’s King Arthur: Legends of the Sword is going to be the most glorious film of 2017. If the cast didn’t make it apparent — Charlie Hunnam as the titular Arthur, Eric Bana as his dad because don’t question it, Djimon Hounsou as his friend, Jude Law as the smirking widows-peaked villain, and Game of Thrones cast members like Roose Bolton and Petyr Baelish pretty much being Roose Bolton and Petyr Baelish — the trailer does.
It is a typical Guy Ritchie movie, full of swagger and style — streetwise snarky antihero, shots of money changing hands and random underground fights, quick-cut nonlinear storytelling — but it’s set in medieval times, give or take a giant mythical elephant or two. It’s astounding why Guy Ritchie has not made a period piece film before, but he should only do that from now on. It’s also astounding why, post Jax Teller, Charlie Hunnam has not played more roles like a medieval Guy Ritchie hero — but there might be six of these movies, so this will hopefully be ongoing.
King Arthur is clearly not going to be an Elizabeth: The Golden Age style serious costume drama, a Monty Python style farce, or a Clive Owen’s King Arthur style snooze. This will instead redefine how we think about period pieces. Let’s break down the most delightfully weird moments the trailer offered.
Arthur the street punk narrating his story to Roose Bolton
Guy Ritchie’s King Arthur begins as a street punk, because of course he does. He seems to be narrating — or perhaps confessing — his tale through flashbacks, as he’s in some kind of shadowy interrogation scenario with Roose Bolton (Michael McElhatton). You think Guy Ritchie can’t Guy Ritchie the hell out of a period piece movie? Think again. Right from the beginning, this trailer establishes the tone.
Giant elephant creatures
This film possibly takes place on Middle Earth, because giant elephant creatures roam rampant in an otherwise standard fantasy world featuring knights and castles and rivers and medieval fight clubs. More on that last one in a bit. Presumably the film will explain the presence of giant elephant creatures— but then again, does it really need to?
Medieval fight clubs
Traditionally, King Arthur tales play with ideas of chivalric romance and what it means to be a knight. To Guy Ritchie, this apparently means one thing: Lads, fucking Arthur is involved in some underground fucking fighting rings.
The question shouldn’t be “why is this happening in a King Arthur movie?” It should be, “why hasn’t this happened in every other King Arthur tale?” Why should Tyler Durden not be the model for the character from now on?
Yeah, so this is basically medieval Snatch
The old-timey equivalent of betting and underground money antics we’ve seen in Ritchie’s best work like Snatch are on full display here. King Arthur is officially Snatch meets Game of Thrones meets Gladiator, and anyone who doesn’t think that alchemy sounds like a savage delight is lying.
Charlie Hunnam’s lines
Charlie Hunnam is actually a fantastic actor — though Sons of Anarchy went off the rails in its later seasons, his performance was consistently astonishing. But he’s also got a particular way of delivering lines that’s filled with swagger, fun, and an occasionally head-scratching accent. Here, we get to see him chew on gems like “Me and the lads took care of business” or aggressively say, “they all lived happily ever after.” Although he was decent in the underrated Crimson Peak, playing a mild-mannered scholar doesn’t quite show off what he’s best at. Merlin bless his return to a role he’s uniquely suited to. There really couldn’t be a better guy for a streetwise madcap Guy Ritchiean King Arthur.
Jude Law as Cersei
We don’t really know much about Jude Law’s character aside from the fact that he is a villain who has some sort of magical powers that involve glow-eyes and fireballs. But that should be enough. Just take a gander at this image. The armor that’s reminiscent of Cersei’s evil queen turn at the end of Game of Thrones Season 6, the epic sneer that evokes Jason Isaacs as Lucius Malfoy, the crown…
This movie is clearly not fucking around. When Guy Ritchie decides to do a medieval movie, his nefarious mob boss type is a decked out evil queen magical Jude Law, damn it.
Charlie Hunnam’s Arthur dresses like a cross between Charles Vane and Jack Rackham on Black Sails. The name of the game here is pirate rockstar aesthetic. Leather pants, a top that’s a mashup of a Henley and a drug rug, and a long leather-and-wool duster that he’s clearly wearing for theater over practicality. This movie does not even need to have a plot if this outfit is onscreen for two hours.
What is even happening here?
Then there is a quick successions of scenes at the end that are completely bonkers.
Majestically backlit knife throwing, for some reason.
Evil Queen Cersei Jude Law uses The Force to choke some people out.
Chainmail-covered armies melt like they’re Nazis in Indiana Jones.
Petyr Baelish is apparently a smirking archer.
And King Arthur is jailed in the Red Keep.
Guys, this movie. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword is going to be next level bonkers in the most delightful way. It hits theaters on March 24, 2017.