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‘The Kid Who Would Be King’ – Review

‘The Kid Who Would Be King’ – Review

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King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. It is a legend that we have all grown up with and its courageous tale continues to inspire every new generation. Now the Arthurian mythos gets a grand new re-telling in The Kid Who Would Be King.

Old school magic meets the modern world in the epic adventure The Kid Who Would Be King. Alex (Ashbourne Serkis) thinks he’s just another nobody, until he stumbles upon the mythical Sword in the Stone, Excalibur. Now, he must unite his friends and enemies into a band of knights and, together with the legendary wizard Merlin (Stewart), take on the wicked enchantress Morgana (Ferguson). With the future at stake, Alex must become the great leader he never dreamed he could be.

Directed by Joe Cornish (Attack the Block), The Kid Who Would Be King really re-tools our idea of the Arthurian legend and just how relevant its themes and ideas are to us today as they were over a thousand years ago. As a director Cornish builds together a really fun family film and invests new life into the legend through his protagonist Alex Elliot (Louis Ashbourne Serkis) who draws forth Excalibur and sets off on a quest to save his nation and fulfill his destiny.

In his work Cornish likes to redefine genre in place within contemporary British society and here he gets the opportunity to do something clever with the Arthurian legend. Framing his story around ideas of the heroes journey, legacy and destiny, Cornish is able to draw out a different side of the story. Its re-interpretation of the legend fits well within Cornish’s aesthetic and there’s plenty of time for comedy amongst all the monster slaying.

While Alex and his friends might be the warriors of courage and truth, they have to contend with the evil of Morgana Le Fay who is content on returning Britain back to the Dark Ages and her presence is a scary one. Played with an elegant creepiness by Rebecca Ferguson, Morgana has an earth witch tone to her portrayal and her obsessive drive to claim Excalibur and send darkness through the hearts of all men leads to plenty of frightening moments.

If Cornish has an ace here with The Kid Who Would Be King then it definitely comes in the form Sir Patrick Stewart’s presence as Merlin. When it comes to British thespians they don’t get much grandeur than Stewart and his appearance as Merlin, the grand old wizard comes wrapped in his famed Shakespearean delivery as he leads his young charges to victory. Stewart has always excelled in the part of a teacher, and you need only look to his portrayal of Charles Xavier in the X-Men franchise, a character I might add who also saw himself as a Merlinesque figue, as evidence of his ability to inspire the young to succeed. This same inspirational persona is present in Merlin and his appearance on screen really brings a smile to your face.

The Kid Who Would Be King is also packed out with plenty of action including fantastical sword fights and high-speed chase sequence and proves to be great fun for any family at the movies.

If you’re looking for a story to show how any one can become a king and save the world while building new friendships, finding honour and choosing the righteous path then The Kid Who Would Be King in the film you need to get to.

Image: 20th Century Fox