Robin Hood (2018)

⭐⭐ based on 1 review.

tl;dr: Amazing archery and some fun ideas buried under a lacklustre plot and an overly designed, fairly derivative aesthetic that never quite pulls itself together.


Spoilers Ahead: My reviews are not spoiler-free. You have been warned.

On paper, this film is great: a gritty, modern, action version of the classic Robin Hood story; Taron Egerton, Tim Minchin, and Jamie Foxx in the lead roles; and genuine archery training from Lars Andersen who, regardless of whether his technique is historically accurate, is certainly the coolest modern archer. Well, the stunts live up to the hype, and I can't fault the acting at all. Shame you can't say the same about the script, direction, or plot. I do see what Robin Hood was trying to do. It's Lord of the Rings meets Sin City with a dash of Suckerpunch, but a bit like that latter example it's largely style over substance. And unlike Suckerpunch, the style doesn't always work either.

There are genuinely fun sequences, like the opening guerilla warfare stuff and ridiculous car chase scene... with horses and chariots. Across the rooftops of Nottingham. In the medieval era. It's ridiculous and it almost works. But then there's the other bits: the weird political subplot setting up a sequel (hah, yeah right), the huge amount of open-pit flames, and the weirdly advanced architecture. It's over-designed but it doesn't feel internally consistent. Well, not consistent in a good way. I can fully hear the design team spitballing an idea and the director just saying "DOPE!" and greenlighting it. It's that vibe. It doesn't quite work.

With a bit more constraint and a little more time spent on plot over spectacle, I think this could have been a lot of fun. Egerton is great and the archery is genuinely awesome to watch. Even the reimagining of characters like Little John, Maid Marian, Friar Tuck, and Will Scarlet is interesting enough. And some of the sociopolitical commentary is okay, particularly the horrors of war and the damning portrayal of the Catholic Church, but again it's pushed so far as to feel comedic without actually being funny. Overall it feels like a film mix that a more competent director/production team could have made into a fun romp, but instead it falls a bit flat.

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