The legendary outlaw has returned more times than Spider-Man. This version will make you side with the Sheriff of Nottingham.
“This isn’t a bedtime story,” a narrator insists early in Robin Hood. It certainly feels like one, in terms of snores—hopefully your seat doesn't recline. Several dueling shades of dull, this umpteenth retooling of the outlaw legend is desperate to convince viewers that Christopher Nolan had something to do with it (he didn’t). It’s drenched in one of those pounding Dunkirk-like scores (this one’s by Joseph Trapanese, doing his best Hans Zimmer), and the script stresses the Dark Knight-ish dual nature of its hero: Sometimes Robin of Loxley is a Crusades-era version of billionaire jerk Bruce Wayne; elsewhere he’s the “Hood,” a mysterious archer causing panic among the ruling class. Both personas are embodied by the charisma-free Taron Egerton, who’s got much work to do, chops-wise, before he portrays Elton John in next year’s Rocketman.
Making sense of the busy plot—involving pedophile priests, villagers in revolt and a scowling Sheriff of Nottingham (go-to bad guy Ben Mendelsohn in a slick grey coat that seems to be wearing him)—is a fool’s errand. But even as your eyes dull at the listless action scenes, there’s distraction to be found in marveling at all the anachronisms. Eve Hewson’s Marian and Jamie Foxx’s Muslim John (no Little, please) are too modern-feeling to be persuasively medieval—and what’s with all the fitted leisurewear? Was that a T-shirt we just saw? Are we in a desert, a fortress or a video game? Some people may appreciate the creative license, but that’s a thin thread to hang two hours of entertainment on. It’s a Robin Hood that steals from the rich and the poor, time-wise.
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