Robin Hood is not a good movie by any stretch of the word, but the over-the top-performances and sheer campiness makes the movie loop around to guilty pleasure.
Director: Otto Bathurst
Summary: A war-hardened Crusader and his Moorish commander 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.
We all saw this one coming a mile away. No one was asking for another Robin Hood movie, and yet here we are. But this movie managed to get one of hell of a cast together, and we all kind of wondered if it might work. Then the trailers came out, and it was pretty clear that it wasn’t going to end up working on a pure functional level. The story takes the simple tale of “rob from the rich to give to the poor” and attempts to add historical complexity to the folklore — but everything is so muddled it just comes across as heavy-handed.
The overall aesthetic of the movie is grim and gritty. There is a lot of leather and fire in a movie about archery and the only reason there is a mine involved now is that they wanted fire and explosions. Otherwise, the setting is utterly pointless. The production, like many others before it, is apparently way too cool to use the title in the movie itself. In this case, our hero’s name is actually Robin and his alter ego is the Hood but no one ever calls him Robin Hood, even after his identity is unmasked. The whole thing gives the impression that it’s too cool for its own source material.
The cast is doing their best with the roles they’ve been given. Ben Mendelsohn is the VIP of the entire production because he spends the entire movie chewing so much scenery it’s amazing there were any sets left by the end. There isn’t anyone better at being this type of villain than Mendelsohn and if he knew this was a terrible movie he wasn’t letting it show. He’s clearly having fun and it shows. Taron Egerton is doing his best as our lead and he’s fairly convincing as an archer. In various behind the scenes shots, we’ve learned that Egerton became a pretty decent archer by the end of this production so at least it wasn’t a total waste of everyone’s time. Jamie Foxx is playing a very interesting version of John, who has new motivations and backstory to make him a tragic figure. He’s not in full-blown Foxx crazy mode, but like Mendelsohn, he’s clearly having fun. The rest of the cast barely registers, which is most unfortunate for Eve Hewson as Marian because they tried very hard to give her agency and attempt not to damsel her too much. However, compared to all of the big personalities, Hewson gets completely lost in the background. She just doesn’t have screen presence here despite how hard she is trying.
All of these things are bad, yet the movie almost comes full circle to become weirdly entertaining by the end. It’s way too long and there are moments when you’ll get extremely bored, but this could easily be a guilty pleasure movie for some people. A movie you’ll queue up on Netflix in six months while you’re bored one night. It’s the kind of enthusiastic bad movie where everyone was clearly trying very hard, but none of it works. That enthusiasm almost pushes the movie into high camp and perhaps a little more bombast and it would be a great campy movie. However, it’s just a bit too self-serious to really be called camp and not nearly over the top enough.
Robin Hood is not a good movie but it’s the kind of bad that can be amusing to watch at times. If this is your sort of thing, you’re probably already planning on checking this out. If not, then it’s not going to change your mind. It’s going to get lost in this very busy box office season, but maybe more people will find it in a few months and realize it’s so bad it’s almost good. Not quite, though.
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