‘Robin Hood’ Review: Off The Mark

Posted in The Screening Room by - November 10, 2015

With so many adaptations of the Robin Hood legend, this isn’t necessarily a remake but it fits under the reboot trend. Originally meant to be a version of the story that focused on the Sheriff of Nottingham and made Robin Hood more of a villain, with the two characters caught up in a romantic triangle with Lady Marion, Ridley Scott and screenwriter Brian Helgeland opted instead to do an origin story of sorts, making Robin an archer for King Richard the Lionheart’s army. When the King is killed, Robin and his fellow archers desert the army, and Robin finds himself having to deliver a dying knight’s sword to Nottingham. Once there, he has to impersonate the dead man to protect the father’s land, and finds himself falling in love with Lady Marion and defending the town against the new ruler, Prince John.

From that summary alone it’s easy to tell the movie is a mess. The sole purpose of the movie seems to be to set it up as a two-hour excuse for exposition and set-up. Nothing in the story intrigues, nothing entertains. Robin just goes from town to town, scene to scene and we never get an idea of what he actually wants or needs as a character.

As usual for a Ridley Scott film, it looks good and the battle scenes are staggering. Russell Crowe doesn’t do too bad in his role, save for his ever-changing accent throughout the movie. In turn, Cate Blanchett outclasses him in the role of Marion. She completely owns the role and it helps that she’s the most strongly defined character in the film; she has purpose and does more than just being a romantic interest for Robin. She does fall a little bit under the usual damsel-in-distress clichés towards the end, but the movie saves itself from that at the end. Another stand out is Oscar Isaac as Prince John. He’s scary, evil and almost chews the scenery but in turn, he’s very entertaining to watch. Perhaps one of the movie’s biggest credits is that John doesn’t come off as a pure jerk, but his relationship with Isabella of Angouleme is explored a little, and it allows a bit of his humanity to shine through. In turn, everyone else, even Mark Strong as Sir Godfrey, John’s henchman, doesn’t quite stand out in the same way.

In the end, this is a film that can’t be recommended in any way. It’s criminally boring at 140 minutes, and with such a strong cast and crew, it really should have been better. With the original script sounding so compelling, it’s a mystery as to why anyone decided to change it. Either make that movie or don’t make it at all, or at least try to make a good one. Robin Hood just isn’t a good movie. 

Final Say: Skip It

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