Here’s the cast. Starring, we have Taron Egerton (KINGSMAN  and GOLDEN CIRCLE , EDDIE THE EAGLE , and the upcoming ROCKETMAN ), Jamie Foxx (BABY DRIVER , THE KINGDOM , and upcoming films SPAWN  and JUST MERCY ), Ben Mendelsohn (READY PLAYER ONE , DARKEST HOUR , STAR WARS: ROGUE , and upcoming films CAPTAIN MARVEL  and SPIES IN DISGUISE ), and Eve Hewson (PAPILLON  and BRIDGE OF SPIES ).
In support, we have Jamie Dornan (Fifty Shades FREED  and DARKER , and ANTHROPOID ), Tim Minchin (stuff I’ve either never seen or heard of, and the upcoming ARKIE ), F. Murray Abraham (ISLE OF DOGS , and the upcoming HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON: THE HIDDEN WORLD ), and Josh Herdman (Goyle from the Harry Potter films).
Now for the crew. Directing, we have Otto Bathurst, known for stuff I’ve either never seen or heard of. Co-writing the screenplay are Ben Chandler (screenwriting debut; congrats, sir) and David James Kelly (feature film debut; congrats, sir). One of the producers is Leonardo DiCaprio, known for LIVE BY NIGHT (2016). Composing the score is Joseph Trapanese, known for GREATEST SHOWMAN (2017), ALLEGIANT (2016) OUTTA COMPTON (2015), and the upcoming ARCTIC (2019). The cinematographer is George Steel, known for stuff I’ve either never seen or heard of, and the upcoming THE AERONAUTS (2019). Finally, co-editors are Chris Barwell (stuff I’ve either never seen or heard of) and Joe Hutshing (GREATEST SHOWMAN).
Already saw the flick, so let’s get this done.
This is my honest opinion of: ROBIN HOOD
Robin of Loxley (Taron Egerton) was once a young and wealthy young man who fell in love with a thief named Marian (). They have a romance, but then the Sheriff of Nottingham () drafts Robin into the army to fight a war, with Marian promising to wait for Robin. Four years later, Robin and his unit captures enemy fighters, one of them named John (Jamie Foxx), a highly skilled warrior. However, his soldiers are ordered to execute the enemies, as opposed to interrogation, one of the enemy soldiers being John’s son. Robin attempts to save him, but is shot by his commanding officer with an arrow and sent back to England, followed by John against his knowledge. Upon arrival, Robin finds that he’s been marked dead, his estate seized by Sheriff as collateral, and Marian has remarried to a man named Will (Jamie Dornan) in the mining district of Nottingham. With all of these revelations, John meets up with Robin and hatches a scheme to get even with the Sheriff by stealing money from him, which keeps him in power, by also earning the trust of the Sheriff.
Ho boy… hold on. *locks myself in my cellar* I think this is adequate protection. Okay… I don’t hate this movie. In fact, I didn’t think it was that bad. Yup, I said it, and I’m not taking it back.
Okay, let me be realistic. This movie is beyond derivative. The only Robin Hood story I’ve seen is Disney’s animated film. I’ve not seen MEN IN TIGHTS, or either of Russell Crowe’s or Kevin Costner’s films. But I want to say that none of them ever wore a face mask. This makes it look like a Batman meets Green Arrow type thing, but far more slow-mo thrown in. Hell, they even go so far as to call Robin’s thieving identity, “The Hood.” The exact name given to Oliver Queen’s Green Arrow in the first season of the TV show ARROW. You can even stretch that lack of originality to both ARROW and BATMAN BEGINS with the trope of, “hero thought to be dead returns to use his wealth for good and his alter-ego to fight justice.” Actually, that’s pretty common in the superhero genre. Frank Castle as The Punisher did that too. Anyway this trope is a special kind of lazy. I think for the context of the story, it works, but I get it if it doesn’t work for others. And I admit that there’s more than a few pointless details. Like, Marian was part of Robin’s inspiration to become a masked thief because she tried stealing from him first, being the kick-off point for their romance. It would be fine, I suppose, if her personality and skillset complemented her character for the rest of the movie, but she’s pretty useless for the rest of the movie, serving as more of a conquest rather than an actual character that contributes to the story. John’s motivations are pretty stale. Just because one soldier stood up for him, he’s taking on Robin as both his new son and apprentice? I feel like this needed further elaboration.
And can I question the historical accuracy of giant-ass automatic crossbows? Like, do those even exist now, let alone back then?! And if you’re considered a traitor by your Captain in the army, how is being sent home a proper punishment? This particular kingdom doesn’t seem like it’s very tolerant of a lot of wrong-doing. Just saying. And finally, the climax suddenly made a lot of the movie needlessly complex. Like, Nottingham is now suddenly allied with this and that nation, getting backing from the church, and it became so political when the original explanation for the war was fine enough: taxing people to fund it. Why muck it up with something we never needed.
But as previously stated, I don’t hate this movie like everyone else seems to.
That opening action scene with the highly implausible auto-crossbows? That shit felt like it was trying to be a World War II film and was highly entertaining. Over the top and most certainly not historically accurate, but it was still pretty fun. In fact, the action was actually not too shabby for the majority of the film. I mean, okay, it’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve seen the flick and no action scene really comes to mind, but I remember liking them enough to keep me entertained.
Let’s talk about a really quick thing here, and it’s actually something I really appreciated with this movie… we actually get to see Robin Hood stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. I know this should be the bare bones basics of what we see in a movie like this, but how many times have we seen a movie that advertised something that we were promised, but didn’t pan out? ALIEN: COVENANT was supposed to be a true-to-form return to an Alien movie, didn’t happen until the climax. WRECK-IT RALPH 2 was supposed to have Ralph break the internet, doesn’t happen until the climax. GODZILLA (2014) barely had a very engaging fight scene until the final act. You see what I’m getting at? All these movies should have been one thing, or prominently featured something awesome, but we never truly got it in a satisfying way. When you get “Robin Hood,” you better see some robbing of rich people and giving to poor people. And while this movie certainly does a training montage, it doesn’t linger too long on it and it does quickly get to the whole point of having a movie like this. We see at least a couple before the big planning of the big score. So really, this movie delivered on a promise that even better movies didn’t.
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the performances. I thought Egerton was charming and likable, as he usually is in his movies. I think he’s a fine Robin Hood and holds up the movie pretty well. Again, he’s very Bruce Wayne slash Oliver Queen, but he’s good enough to keep me engaged. And of course, Mendelsohn is always a riot. I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of this man’s ability to play slimy dick-weeds. He just does it so very well to the point that he’s becoming a treasure for any movie that he’s in. I honestly want more of Mendelson in everything and I hope I’m not alone in this. But he is also charismatic in the movie, he speaks with authority, and is a near perfect Sheriff.
Beyond all that, I thought this movie had some good sets, some solid cinematography, and some satisfying choice scenes, especially toward in the climax. Look, I acknowledge that the movie is beyond imperfect and has more than a few flaws and problems. Hell, the movie feels akin to a superhero movie than a folk legend and it probably would have had a better shot if the story played into that better. But still, for what the movie was, it was a solid popcorn flick and I had my fair share of fun with it. Nothing all that special, but I don’t know if it’s entirely deserving of all the hate. Far worse and far more disappointing films have been made. As a recommendation, I might say… eh, save it for a rental. I don’t think it’s worth seeing in theaters, and I’m likely in the minority of those who didn’t have a problem with it. I get it if you don’t like it, so I’ll just say viewer beware.
My honest rating for ROBIN HOOD: 3/5
This week’s reviews:
Next week’s reviews:
- ANNA AND THE APOCALYPSE
- THE POSSESSION OF HANNAH GRACE
- HEAD FULL OF HONEY
- TODOS LO SABEN / EVERYBODY KNOWS