While this year's SDCC was obviously flooded with plenty of exciting DC and Marvel news — have you checked out that Wonder Woman trailer yet? — not everything at Comic-Con is about superheroes. Which means that we also got a second trailer for the Harry Potter spinoff Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them, and a majestic one for Guy Ritchie's King Arthur: Legend Of The Sword.
And it's the kind of trailer that induced quite the polarizing reaction: While some started getting pumped for a blast of a movie, it's not surprising that others would be suspicious of the strangely modern spin that was put on this classic knight's tale. If you're frowning at the historical inaccuracy of an elephant in medieval England and a fireball-wielding king, remember that this is Guy Ritchie, the director that brought the Iron Man — sorry, Robert Downey Jr. — touch to Sherlock Holmes.
Considering the list of adaptations of King Arthur's tale is already quite long, how does Ritchie hope to make the story fresh enough for a compelling movie? It seems like his interpretation of Arthur's character attempts to be the answer to a problem faced by more movies than we can count: The blandness of its good-guy heroes, from King Arthur to Superman.
'Raised On The Streets. Born To Be King'
This approach is summed up in the slightly corny, MTV-style tagline for the movie: "Raised on the streets. Born to be king." What should make Arthur relatable is that he doesn't just pop out of nowhere, find the sword, and boom, become king — he's got an eventful past that will certainly not make his ascension to royalty any easier.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Ritchie explained his take on the character:
"I think where the pitfall has often been is trying to make King Arthur bland and nice, and nice and bland. Our King Arthur is not a good guy from the beginning."
And the actor playing Arthur, Charlie Hunnam, chimed in:
"If somebody is walking around with noble aspirations and just looking for a vehicle to show how f–king noble they are and then they find out that they're king of England, oh wonderful! We're off to the races. But it's all a bit boring and Arthur looks like a bit of a c–t."
Rest assured, then, that this Arthur is neither self-absorbed nor naive.
Is The Bad Guy Type Of Hero A Guarantee For Success?
Will the director's intention to make the hero edgier be enough to carry the movie, however? Blockbuster movies seem to have recently hopped on a trend to avoid making their main characters too nice: From the antiheroes of Suicide Squad to Deadpool, even Captain America has lost a bit of his good guy shine by having to hide from the government!
Still, we'll have to see more of King Arthur to determine if it can overcome its slightly confusing feeling: At times it looks like a video game, or a music video, and it's not entirely clear how the "guy from the streets" trope will fit in with the mystical fantasy. Is it a gritty movie about one character's journey, or a grandiose tale full of magical fireballs and unlikely creatures, or both?
Are you looking forward to King Arthur: Legend of the Sword? Or were you more confused by the trailer?
[Source: Entertainment Weekly]