This latest iteration of the classic tale Robin Hood is coming to theaters in November, and we got our first look at what’s in store.
The plot is mostly the same, but here’s the official synopsis: “A war-hardened Crusader (Taron Egerton as Robin Hood) and his Moorish commander (Jamie Foxx as Little John) 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.”
Ah, all the things needed for a proper Robin Hood tale, amirite? Here are some of my reactions from watching this preview…
Right off the bat, we see some kick-ass archery skills as a hooded man quickly dispatches those around him with rapid-fire arrows, as a voice-over (Ben Mendelsohn as the Sheriff of Nottingham), tells us this masked, hooded robber of the rich has “our commoners looking up, seeing hope.” You get the idea that the movie will be pretty non-stop with the action, lots of slo-mo shots of shooting arrows and hand-to-hand combat. That’s all good. I’m definitely all in if the action sequences blow my mind.
Then, in a bit of a twist, you see star Taron Egerton acting as an ally to those who want to capture Robin Hood. Playing it from the inside is a nice touch to the story, keeping his friends close, enemies closer and probably thwarting their manhunt. I like that.
The casting is also pretty spot-on. Egerton looks just as charismatic as Robin as he was in the Kingsman movies. Jamie Foxx as Little John looks a lot tougher and savvier than previous Little Johns. There’s also Fifty Shades star Jamie Dornan, playing one of Robin’s crew, Will Scarlet, and relative newcomer Eve Hewson as Maid Marion. I’m not quite feeling the chemistry from the trailer, so let’s hope Egerton and Hewson can pull off the love connection because that is tantamount to making a true Robin Hood movie come alive.
The one casting choice I have a little issue with is Mendelsohn as the Sheriff. Not that he can’t play that villainous part with aplomb, but it’s just like the hundredth bad guy he’s played in as many big movies, like Rogue One and Ready Player One. You’d think he’d be tired of playing the same type character over and over – or maybe audiences might get tired of him playing them. At least he got to play King George IV in Darkest Hour.
My main takeaway, however, is that I fear that even though there looks like lots of bow-and-arrow badassery, it might fall into the same trap as Guy Ritchie’s King Arthur: Legend of the Sword – which is do we really need another Robin Hood movie?
There are about 10 or so movies that have been made throughout the years, the last one being directed by Ridley Scott in 2010 with Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett. It took a more realistic view of the story, firmly planting it in the history of 12th century England and wasn’t really a box office success. Most Robin Hood connoisseurs have an affinity for the Kevin Costner version Robin Hood: King of Thieves, pitting him against Alan Rickman’s Sheriff of Nottingham and pairing him with Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio as Marian. And then if you go way back, there’s the Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland movie.
Granted, like the King Arthur tale, Robin Hood is a great cinematic story, but the mistake Ritchie made with his King Arthur was trying to make it both modern and of its time. Let’s see if Robin Hood director, Otto Bathurst – who is a bit of novice with feature films, having directed mostly TV, like Peaky Blinders and a Black Mirror episode – can rise above.
Robin Hood opens November 21.