It brings me no pleasure to review Guy Ritchie’s King Arthur: Legend of the Sword. It brings me even less pleasure to report on a disappointing sativa. But being an adult who regularly smokes weed and then sees movies, I have an obligation to my craft. Onward.
Strawberry Cough sativa is about as close as one can get to smoking weed without any effect at all. This low-THC strain smells beautiful and indeed tastes like strawberries upon the eponymous cough. But after smoking a half-gram joint, I immediately rolled another. Because I was not high at all.
Barely registering the marijuana, I nestled into King Arthur, a wisp of a movie told in slate blues and fussy edits. A retelling of Arthur’s pulling of Excalibur and ascension to the throne, Richie’s take on the legendary king features all the director’s worst habits—overly verbose thugs, cheeky out-of-sequence storytelling, a calcified ’90s aesthetic favoring sumptuous slow-motion shots and actor-mounted camera selfies.
“Do we need Arthur’s younger years recounted in a montage scored by breakbeats?” I wrote 10 minutes into the film, the lightweight Strawberry Cough already evaporating. One of the chief virtues of getting blitzed before a blockbuster is that weed fills quality gaps of these CGI clusterfucks. With the weak high, my eyes started to wander from Charlie Hunnam’s blankly handsome mug to the back of the chairs.
By the midway point, King Arthur completely leaves the audience behind, delving into a series of disjointed action sequences with no build or consequence. Half-realized fantasy images—skyscraper elephants destroying castles, Arthur Neo-ing enemies with the magical Excalibur—shrug across the screen.
It’s rare to have definitely experienced something yet feel as if you experienced nothing. But like Strawberry Cough, skip King Arthur and your life will be exactly the same.