Robin Hood (2018) continues the long tradition of blockbuster remakes with millennial-aimed takes that also lead into potential franchise origins. It also continues the tradition of that absolutely falling on its arse.
To say that Robin Hood is entirely bad would be doing it a disservice, it has nothing on the misguided Ridley Scott film that I honestly recall nothing of except for its opening scene. Though it also stands nowhere near its peers like Prince of Thieves, the Disney animated version, or Errol Flynn (not even Men in Tights, though it does have as much humour, though unintentional)
Taron Egerton has a lot on his plate trying to seriously get through this flick for a paycheck and another potential franchise (that won’t ever be a franchise) While he certainly did his part training to shoot arrows (trained by notoriously viral and impractical archer Lars Andersen), he’s thrown into a world of poorly constructed action and special effects amid a screenplay packed with tonnes of groans and cliches of the last two decades of cinema.
The first cinematic feature of Otto Bathurst definitely shows. Robin Hood screams of unoriginality of vision and a copy/paste job to create exactly this type of movie. Everything is numbing and basic, with the thinnest allegories and the most transparent influences, whether we’re going war in the Middle East being EXACTLY like war in the Middle East now down to insurgents and ambushed and street warfare to even the Crusaders’ armour looking exactly like modern day army loadouts, or to the remainder of the film, which couldn’t be more like The Dark Knight unless Ben Mendelssohn put on white face-paint.
And Ben Mendelssohn does nothing new. He is a fantastic actor and a brilliant villain to cast, but you can tell he phones it in with clenched jaw, shouting, and speeches that sound like every speech ever. Your Robin Hood is only as strong as your Sheriff of Nottingham, and here it is weak sauce.
Hood’s future merry Men need some work too. Tim Minchin is a joy to see given acting roles, but goddamn he’s another member of the Sean Connery school of acting which his Australian being unmistakable. Jamie Foxx is a delight but only because how hammy he is as an Arabic Little John. There’s a moment where he cauterises the stump of his arm which makes for unintentional hilarity.
The key phrase of this movie. Unintentional hilarity. When you’re not calling a play by play of The Dark Knight down to even the return of Robin as Bruce Wayne coming up against Marion as Rachel and Jamie Dornan’s Will as Harvey Dent, you’re discovering just how stupid this movie wants to go. Even the unbelievable nature of Nottingham being perpetually on fire shooting sparks on every street corner. Even the costume design that’s as inconsistent as the editing. Even the party scene that comes out of nowhere that feels like the casino scene of any Bond movie, where the fashion and hair design is inconceivable, where extras are dressed by Jean Paul Gottier and all we need now is Jamie Foxx dressed as Ruby Rhod trying to find Corbin Dallas.
Robin Hood is unfortunately not a barrel of bad laughs for the entirety of the runtime. There is plenty of opportunity to riff off the material with friends (including trying to decipher how one would “drown in a cage”), but it doesn’t quite hit glory levels of bad-good.
Another entry in the failed franchise cinematic universe, Robin Hood is a Netflix at best, rental at worst. Seeing it with a crowd will not help, it will just get you told off for laughing way too hard at Jamie Foxx thinking sticking his arm stump into a smelting pot is a good idea.
Seriously. What is this movie? It’s not enough to warrant more, so unfortunately...