Going into Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood, I wasn’t expecting much, in fact I was expecting it to be a really boring, dull, uninteresting take on the Robin Hood story, for some reason the story to it’s roots in a prequel “reboot” of the story. Interestingly though, Robin Hood, although slow in parts, completely satisfied me in terms of looking for a good, worth while, epic. The story takes place years before the Robin Hood story we all know and love, as Robin Longstride becomes some what of an outlaw after standing for what’s noble and just as a new king is slowly gaining too much power in the olden days of England. Although I was a little shaky of the idea of taking a known-and-loved story to a storyline we were less familiar with, I have to say I was really interested in the story as my inner history buff came out. It was really cool to find out as the movie went on what led Robin Hood to be Robin Hood. It’s cool to see who this guy is, but where this movie’s biggest fault lies is in that it’s far too broad, far too Pirates of the Caribbean 3, with its story. There’s just too much going on to really click with who the audience should be clicking with, and that’s Robin Hood. Sure we have King John’s plotline with his taxes, Marion’s shoehorned plotline of female empowerment, all this surrounding business involving the Magna Carta that should have been more interesting than it was, but the movie really could have been much smoother had it just followed Robin Hood and his merry men. Its less about “The Events of Robin Hood” and more of “Events in old-timey England that just so happen to involve Robin Hood”. Scott’s ambition is admirable, but it just doesn’t pay off. Also, as I feared, there are a few slow spots in the middle of the film that follow some character exposition and development, while effective, just don’t add up to much and could have been easily cut by self-indulgent Ridley Scott. The film also boasts some great visuals. The movie’s set design is gorgeous, nailing all the costumes and towns/castles perfectly. I thought a few times during the film “Is it really productive or necessary for a film studio to have spent THIS much on a film when it’s already financially floundering?”, however I had nothing to complain about come time for the incredibly well-shot epic Normandy-style battle toward the end of the film and the number of great looking slow-motion shots. The actors in the film all do a great job. Russell Crowe does a great job as Robin Hood, perfectly hitting that accent and physical swagger, Cate Blanchett is pretty good at times, King John is appropriately jerky, and all the merry men are perfectly merry. Although I did fall asleep during my screening (it was a 10:00 screening at night, and I had had a long day), the way Robin Hood ends sets up the the story we all know in a really exciting way, and concludes in a perfectly TDK-cliffhanger tone that leaves me really excited for what could come of a sequel to this film if it gets the attention it sorely needs. There’s a lot of room for great improvement in a sequel and for a spectacular story, it’s just up to Ridley Scott to hone his storytelling skills to make it happen, and for American audiences to show their favor of what was a spectacular time at the movies for myself. Robin Hood won’t win the award for most exciting or fast-paced film of the Summer, but if more summer films were more like this, more focused on telling a good, although stretched, narrative, and simply better made, than maybe that wouldn’t be such a bad thing.
8 out of 10