Summary: A modernish, steampunkish take on Robin Hood sans most of his Merry Men.
We need to have a talk. Did directors forget how to do bad historical action well? I mean, you basically made this movie for me. I’ve been on board since day one. I was prepared for this Robin Hood to be bad, but one of those bad-but-good-because-it’s-fun kind of thing. I was so willing to overlook any bad acting, thin plots, and obvious jokes that came with this. And really, I should have known how this movie would lack attention to detail when the title character popped up twice on the same poster, but then you released that Tim Minchin one and I was like, “Are there advance tickets?” I’ll see anything with Tim!
For every four things wrong in this movie, one thing is done right. I will say that this movie starts off fine enough. Tone establishment and aesthetics are done in a weirdly acceptable way starting from the second scene, which is a mash-up of Call of Duty and Medieval Times from the costumes (Gulf War-inspired uniforms, Kevlar and all) to the formations to the plan of attack. And Robin isn’t just a guy that comes home from the Crusades- he’s a war-stricken veteran with PTSD who is kept alive by the thoughts of his one true love. Daw. That odd coupling of inspiration allows for other things of the movie to not be so much of a bother in later scenes. A leather hoodie? Sure! A woman in a mullet dress with leggings? Yup. Smooth cobblestone in ye olde Nottingham? Absolutely. An alcohol-lidden gambling party that looks like it walked out of Miley Cyrus’ dreambank? Bring it on. If that sounds ridiculous, it absolutely is- but it was different enough from what we’ve seen before and so it was interesting. And the first few action bits are just over the top enough but also well shot. I was about forty minutes in when I thought to myself, “Wait, I think I’m actually having a good time” and the audience I was with seemed to be sharing that same sentiment as we chuckled and even had a few audible, “Ok, sure” interjected throughout.
It’s almost as if the movie heard us and was like, “Uh-uh, we can’t have that- we set off to be bad for real. We have this really weak romance angle with Not Sophie Turner that needs to be in here and also, here’s Will Scarlett as Harvey Dent.” Fighting style inspired by his Moorish BFF? Let’s go classic score on this one. Jamie Foxx’s son is murdered by Guy of Gisborne? Let’s make his nemesis the Sheriff of Nottingham! Marion moves on after Robin was announced as dead? She obviously will just go back to him with the last two years of becoming an adult going to waste. Unrealistic yet fun as hell training montage? We’ll give you some plain dialogue on top of wagons in shakey cam- wait for it- AT NIGHT!
That chase scene is so bad, it rivals Assassin’s Creed for being The Most Incoherent Shitshow on Wheels.
The worst offender is Ben Mendelsohn in a too modern trenchcoat. The fun just stopped. It’s not exactly the same character he’s played in Ready Player One and Rogue One, but he plays it in the same, straightforward manner and it brings down that enjoyable vibe. It’s not a fun villain and a fun villain is what could have kept the momentum going. This piece needed a bad guy that would relish in the power they were gaining- someone who was having as much wreaking havoc as we were watching it. Some of the flamboyancy a la Willem Dafoe or even Tim Roth would have worked really, really well in this.
Then, just as it’s winding down and you’re thinking, “That was fine- I mean, it can’t get any worse,” the movie falls in line with the latest trends and shoehorns in the idea for a sequel. Laughable. I’d rather see a sequel to King Arthur: Legend of the Sword.
I’m all done here but here’s an OBLIGATORY TIM MINCHIN PICTURE because seeing Tim on the big screen was worth it. YOU HELD IT TOGETHER AND I AM GRATEFUL.