21 November 2018 | thetylex
Reminds me of last year's re-imagining of King Arthur except a heist film this is not. Robin Hood gets his umpteenth retelling yet the film insists it's telling a new version of the story while also basically covering all you already know about the man himself. Steal from the rich, give to the poor; it's not complicated, and open to a million different interpretations of that core loop, yet here we are.
For a movie to tease some promising themes at the start (if you ignore the awful opening bit of narrative catch-up that mismatches the film's tone with twee voice over and the weakest relationship setup imaginable) only to glance over them for flat characters is a little mean, because it makes you think it might not be half bad for at least a half an hour. It could have opened with the first major action sequence, which may be the best part of the film, as it is a far cry from where the action goes from there. Robin, of course, is a man of great character, even before his transformation into a thief proper. Where the film immediately goes wrong is establishing a context to the conflict he is drafted into fighting, which clearly includes rampant racism, imperialism, and intolerance of ideology. Like I said, promising themes at first, but Ben Mendelsohn as the Sheriff of Nottingham is not a person you'll come to understand. He could hardly get more cartoonish, and during his growly monologues I wondered if this movie was actually intended for children.
I think it is and it isn't as it's suitably violent but without blood which in some instances appears to have been intended. Robin himself racks up quite the body count in his efforts to steal from the absurdly rich Sheriff, dragging presumably innocent lives into his own personal vendetta (which is fueled by Jamie Foxx, who goes back and forth between playing Jamie Foxx and Jamie Foxx's vague interpretation of an "Arab", quotes included). But because he gets results, the community rallies around him. Off screen, mostly, so that when it comes time to rally the town against the Sheriff (though one wonders why they never left if they were forced to give everything they owe to the war) they all get behind him.
There is a lot of conflicting or lazy character choices in the film, too many to get into great detail, but they keep resetting any feelings you may develop naturally when a movie is--how you say--consistent. On top of that, accents are a complete afterthought. The lead actress, an Irish actor, can't even keep an accent in her native tongue for more than a sentence every other scene she's in. The rest of the time she's speaking plain American English like everyone's afraid to remind her of her character's betrothal to another Irishman, Jamie Dornan. Oh yeah, he's in this, and his character's arc is, in order: nonexistent, then confusing and script-serving, then literally Two-Face from The Dark Knight in a categorically stupid franchise setup that promises to tell the exact same story again next time.
Any sort of personality or wit the film has is lost in the incompetent action scenes that are a complete joke. Its costuming is interesting, but feels weird and ultimately ephemeral. At times it was like a cross between Game Of Thrones and The Matrix. I also thought the film was going to end after a particularly large set piece (which includes a horse-drawn cart being driven through a wall) because the inane plotting felt sweetly dumb enough to be mercifully short, but it kept slogging on for maybe 45 more minutes. I wouldn't give this one its franchise money, if only so that Taron Edgerton can put his alright charisma towards something else.