Robin Hood is the newest version of the old English legend/folk tale of Robin of Loxley and his merry men, focusing on the beginning of his legacy of taking from the rich and giving to the poor. With action, love and subterfuge, this film staring Taron Egerton (Kingsman franchise) and directed by Otto Bathurst (Peaky Blinders) unfortunately falls very short of the iconic legend.
My main problem with this film is how anachronistic it is. If you unaware of this term, it means something from the present placed in the past where it does not belong. This film is aggressively anachronistic and it can be very difficult to separate yourself from it. With the sheriff of Nottingham dressed like he belongs in a Star Wars film, to the city of Nottingham looking like it belongs in a steampunk film.
That is the only way I can describe the aesthetic of this film, it feels very steampunk, especially with the way the costumes are designed. With Marion wearing red velvet the entire film when this fabric would not have been available for a woman living in poverty in a mine, and a Hunger Games esc. Party, the costumes feel more appropriate for a film set in the future. With the way that the sets are designed and the presentation of the church and law system, the steampunk vibe is strong.
There are heavy parallels between conflict in the Middle East which is ongoing, to the Crusades which Robin goes on. With costumes heavily related to modern protection in battle, and parallels between crossbows and guns throughout the entire film along with references to PTSD and the horrors and problems around warfare. This can be quite poignant and it is a clear message, however, it feels over used. For a film set in the 14th century, nothing feels of that time and it adds to my anachronistic criticism.
There are some positives. The acting of Egerton is strong, and the fight scenes look cool. Friar Tuck can be quite funny, and there are some really cool soundtrack moments, but those are it. Even these have downfalls. Egerton has to carry this film on his shoulders and sometimes his fellow actors and the way the film is shot let him down, the fight scenes are filmed so fast. One such scene moves so fast, and was clearly filmed on green screen that the film feels blurry and unfinished, producing an action sequence which feels quite tacky. Friar Tuck is used as comedic effect, and it falls short sometimes and the soundtrack feels too Peaky Blinders and not very original.
The accents of the actors are sporadic, with Northern Irish, an Australian twinge, North England and Welsh. It feels very cluttered and uncertain, some acting falls very short, specifically Marion. I feel like she could have gone further and done more but the script falls the actress and she is mainly a love interest with a bossy voice.
It’s a generic action film, if you are able to separate the anachronistic way that the film is, I would recommend it. It is a typical action film, it feels very unoriginal and something that I have seen often, but they do the archery very well and I was super impressed as Egerton did the majority of this himself.
I think that this film is a fun introduction to the Robin Hood legend to the audience base who loves these sort of modern action films set in the past. With some strong acting from Egerton and some cool action and soundtrack, although it is not original, I still sort of enjoyed the film, but the anachronistic and steampunk aesthetic of the film is not one which I feel worked. Separating the legend of Robin Hood from the past and bringing it into the future fails the ionic legend.