Robin of Loxley (Taron Egerton), a war-hardened Crusader, and a Moorish commander (Jamie Foxx) mount a revolt against the corrupt English crown in this alternate take on the classic Robin Hood story. Co-stars Eve Hewson, Jamie Dornan, Ben Mendelsohn and Tim Minchin.
Is this a welcomed return of the classic hero? Not according to critic Liam Maguren, who felt a little robbed.
Did we really need another Robin Hood film? Well, to this Hood’s credit, it states its case pretty well in the opening few minutes. Declarations of income inequality, fear-mongering from the wealthy, and even showing the importance of counting every single vote parallels finely with today’s political weather forecast while staying true to the traditional tale of Nottingham. Unfortunately, it sets up a good target only to fire multiple arrows into its own foot.
The main fault lies with Robin Hood himself. While Taron Egerton and his Kingsman-ly charisma prove a fitting choice for the charming thief, he’s never convincingly shown to be a man who feels for the common people suffering at the hands of an oppressive system. We don’t even see him interacting with the poor and needy since he’s distracted by a tunnel-vision motivation to win the heart of Marian (Eve Hewson) once more—a fact he even states out loud at one point. It turns a man of the people into a man who really wants his girlfriend back that just so happens to be to the advantage of the people. He’s ultimately not that noble, he just stumbles into nobleness.
The supporting cast can’t elevate things, either. It’s fun to see Ben Mendelsohn’s sheriff spitting out childish threats of violence—”I’ll boil you in your own piss!”—but this seasoned scene-chewer is only given finger food to work with. Jamie Foxx plays Little John like the Morpheus to Hood’s Neo, serving as a stern coach in numerous montages while lightly mocking him for trademark comedic value. He also has a son that died but the film seems to forget about that till the very end.
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The action also feels like it blew the cobwebs off The Matrix playbook with its love of super-slo-mo, long dark coats, and exploding concrete pillars. An odd amount of ropey CGI and some paper-shredder editing round off a bland visual experience for anyone looking to leave their brain at the door. A solid sequence in war-torn Arabia stands out because it actively defies what I’ve previously mentioned. Unfortunately, it’s also at the start of the film.
Machine stitched costumes aside, at least the production holds some strength with hefty interior designs and nicely rendered city backdrops. It makes you wish this film visited the lush forests it only hints at. Maybe it will with a potential sequel indicated by the tacked-on final minutes. But do we really need another Robin Hood? It’s one this film can’t justify.