Updated: Jan 20, 2019
Robin Hood is essentially a character who has become a staple of his genre, a classic tale of how a man “steals from the rich and gives to the poor.” The story has seen countless interpretations from animation to a 2018 high-staked, large-budgeted action film competing against Ralph Breaks the Internet and Creed II. And yet with such dense competition, this latest spin on Robin Hood, from Kingsman and Eddie the Eagle star Taron Egerton, is not done proper justice, devolving into a bland, sheepish mess that refuses to tidy itself. Beginning with a sour note as Marion, a thief played by Eve Hewson, comes to steal one of Hood’s most prized possessions, but gets caught in the act. As any person would expect, the two quickly fall in love but their romance comes to an end when Robin gets drafted for war, setting the stage for the “meat” of the film.
From the first few minutes of the movie, it can be confirmed that Marion exists for the sole purpose of pleasing the eyes of the viewers and fulfilling the landmarks of the genre since she doesn’t contribute much to the film’s narrative structure. Her inclusion quickly becomes distracting as it seems that the film doesn’t know what to do with itself. This abstracted truth is somewhat confusing as there is no real reason for this film to exist. Marketed as a unique adaptation on a tale that is in desperate need of a refreshing spin, Robin Hood fails on all accounts due to how shallow it is. It’s hard to see how any audience member will even be able to remember watching this travesty a few hours after seeing it.
But even as such, the film at times attempts to regain its footing, even if its attempts are miniscule in the greater scope. Out of previous renditions, Robin Hood is portrayed in a far more deadly and violent manner, with the character killing a surplus amount of guards in one particular instance, without even gaining a single coin. Examples like these litter the film, bringing into question the integrity of the screenplay. It constantly attempts to devolve itself in order to create a more acceptable production, but it causes any attempt to gain solid footing to feel lackluster and shameless. Serving as both a direct copy of its roots and a unique take on an iconic figure, Robin Hood feels both confused and out of place in its storytelling, constantly imploring the audience to have genuine engagement with a plot that never innovates in its design.
As for the cast, and given that they are at a steep disadvantage with such a disastrous script, the roster of renowned, world-class actors and actresses prove to do the best they could. Egerton and Foxx inject a unique emotion onto their characters, helping to bring their characters past the stiff dialogue that the screenplay would have them step in. Likewise, Mendelsohn develops a menacing, almost creepy tone that may not be anything new for recent action films, but is still charismatic in his harshest of scenes.
On the other hand, Eve Hewson made her already flat and static character into a divisively boring one with her abstained monotone voice throughout the entire film with only occasional differences in tone. As for the other supporting characters, their inclusion feels unnecessary and rather tacked on even if both Tim Minchin and Jaime Dornan played their individual parts moderately well.
Technically speaking, another problem that the production repeatedly faced was the lack of consistency with the time period and costumes. The costume designer, Julian Day, did a poor job of setting up the accurate atmosphere for the movie since the characters wore modern outfits that didn’t resemble the medieval era shown through the sets throughout the film. The creative decision could have worked if the screenwriters decided to take the film in a new, bold direction, but ultimately the inclusion of such drastic costuming proved to be distracting.
But even such, the massive budget that Robin Hood holds as a burden appears to have some redeemable qualities. The production design was both vivid and aesthetically appealing, divulging the setting of the film far more than the costuming ever did. In addition, the cinematography proved remarkably easy to follow and wasn’t overly crowded to a point as to where it would be hard to tell what was even occurring. And in such a blockbuster-oriented climate at the cinema, these attributes prove to be some of the only saving graces of the entire picture.
As a whole, Robin Hood falls nearly completely on its face out of the gate if it wasn’t for the film’s technical capabilities from its impressive cinematography and production design. Both Egerton and Foxx attempt to shell out their acting abilities to save this disastrous production, but their combined efforts aren’t enough to redeem the script of its blandness and apparent lack of innovation.
Score: 5.8 out of 10
Robin of Loxley (Taron Egerton) a war-hardened Crusader and his Moorish commander (Jamie Foxx) mount an audacious revolt against the corrupt English crown in a thrilling action-adventure packed with gritty battlefield exploits, mind-blowing fight choreography, and a timeless romance.
ROBIN HOOD hits theaters on November 21st, 2018.