Watch literally any other version.
When I was trying to pick a movie to see for today’s review, I thought, “maybe I’ll see Robin Hood (2018). Why not? I haven’t done an action movie in a while.” Then I watched the trailer for Robin Hood to double-check that it was worth seeing, and I thought I heard Jamie Foxx doing an English accent. Immediately I said to myself, “oh, I have to see this trainwreck.” As it turns out, my ears betrayed me and Foxx does not do an English accent. Luckily for me, the movie still ended up being a colossal trainwreck. Sigh, this was just the worst.
Yet another retelling of the legendary folktale, Robin Hood follows the same basic narrative of past iterations: Robin of Loxley becomes the thief “Robin Hood” to steal from the rich and give to the poor, outwitting the Sheriff of Nottingham with the assistance of Little John, Maid Marian, and Friar Tuck. The movie shakes things up slightly by having Jamie Foxx’s Little John actually train Taron Egerton’s Robin Hood, showing us how he became so skilled with a bow and arrow. Unfortunately for the movie and anyone subjected to watching it, the scene only lasts about a minute and a half. The rest of the movie then devolves into an unorthodox mash-up of Dear John (2010) and Batman Begins (2005). Believe me, we’ll get there.
So right off the bat, I’m rolling my eyes and laughing at this movie. Not only does it start like Cinderella (1950) where we go INTO the “Robin Hood” storybook, then Robin the narrator says, “I could tell you what year it was, but I couldn’t remember.” Translation: the movie wanted to have a futuristic look but also wanted to have a traditional 14th century setting and found a half-assed way to do both. My eyes rolled so far back into my head. Bullshit excuse aside, the biggest problem with Robin Hood is that it tries way too hard to be serious and badass. An overly-complicated plot involving a war funded by the Church didn’t help the movie’s atrocious pacing either, as there were multiple times where I had no idea what was going on and guess what? I just didn’t care.
This movie was so full of nonsense that nothing mattered. There wasn’t even that much robbing! That’s the main thing Robin Hood does! To the movie’s credit there was ONE genuinely thrilling action scene where Robin was stealing from the Sheriff of Nottingham, but my hopes were dashed as quickly as they were raised because it only lasted about 40 seconds. As for the rest of the movie’s multiple actions scenes, they were unoriginal, lacking, and horribly edited.
Ugh, I’m so over these movies that are inspired by a classic story and then just “modernized” by applying a darker tone. Remember King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (2017)? Yeah, me neither. Just do a straight up, faithful adaptation of the story that delivers on the swashbuckling fun and sense of adventure. Is that so hard? I mean, why was this movie even made? Sure it’s admittedly grittier than past iterations, but we just got a gritty adaptation eight years ago with that forgettable Russell Crowe version. You know what would have been much more cool and interesting? A live-action version of Rocket Robin Hood (1966 – 1969). Why not? They’re being super ambiguous with the time period anyway, just go ahead and do a straight up futuristic take on “Robin Hood.” We’re cool with it.
2018’s Robin Hood is one bland and annoying Prince of Thieves. Completely one-dimensional, poorly-motivated, and incredibly whiny, anytime he’s onscreen you just want him to shut up and go away. It’s a shame that an actor as likable as Taron Egerton got stuck in such an abysmal role. Bless his heart, Egerton tries his best to bring some charisma to the titular hero, but all of his lines feel like something out of a comedy sketch attempting to make Robin Hood a brooding vigilante like Batman. Which brings us to the Batman Begins comparison: You guys, 60 per cent of this movie is just the plot of Batman Begins. Robin and Little John return from war to an impoverished Nottingham where everyone assumes Robin has died. He then strikes up the facade of a dim-witted party boy to blend in with high society, while he dons a mask and acts as a vigilante by night. IT’S JUST BATMAN BEGINS.
The other 40 per cent of the movie, is as I said, just the plot of Dear John and it comes courtesy of Maid Marian. Having assumed Robin is dead, Marian starts a romance with Will Scarlett, played by Jamie Dornan. After returning home from war, Robin becomes aware of their relationship and allows them to carry on although he still deeply loves Marian. They even do that thing where Robin secretly sees them living happily, and then runs away just as Marian turns around to see…that no one was there. This version of Marian is just awful. First of all, Eve Hewson who plays Marian, can’t commit to an accent. Sometimes she sounds Irish, sometimes English, and sometimes American. It’s so uneven and jarring. Terrible accent aside, what really kills me about the movie’s portrayal of Marian is that she isn’t a character. She’s an object that the male characters are either kissing, saving, or yelling at. Marian doesn’t get anything of substance to do which is hugely disappointing considering Hollywood’s current climate. Okay, I just figured out how to make this movie so much better: Have the actual Robin Hood die within the first few minutes, and then have Marian take on the mantle of Robin Hood while the rest of the movie has her rob from he rich, outwit the Sheriff of Nottingham, and get into all sorts of Sherwood Forest shenanigans. That’s a great note from me to you Hollywood, write it down.
This movie was nonsense. It didn’t feel like a real movie. Seriously, half of the time I thought I was watching a trailer for some sort of medieval parody movie. Oh my God, there’s one scene where Robin’s arrow just goes straight through a guard’s metal helmet and I was just sitting there like, “okay, no, that’s not how helmets work.” I’m telling you, the movie forgot how to be a movie. What’s most astounding though is how director Otto Bathurst was able to cast an entire movie with actors who have zero chemistry together. Scenes that are meant to have emotional weight or be especially suspenseful sound hollow and ridiculous, as you can tell the actors are literally just “saying” their lines to each other. What is completely unforgivable is this version’s Friar Tuck. Played by Tim Minchin, Tuck is our comedic relief and unfortunately he’s the word kind of comedic relief. He just rambles on without actually landing a joke or managing to be endearing in any way. Look, I’m no Friar Tuck super-fan, but when you hire an actor who looks like a stoner to play Robin’s wise, kindly, old, companion, a part of the illusion shatters for me. Okay, not to harp on things, but I feel like the movie actively tried to find the worst actors to play Tuck and Marian. Sorry about it.
Stay away from this movie at all costs. Completely unmemorable, devoid of fun, and lacking any charm or intelligence, this movie is hardly even worth watching while you shovel popcorn into your mouth and stare at explosions. If you’re in the mood to watch the exploits of Robin Hood, I highly recommend the beloved Disney version, Robin Hood (1973), or the equally beloved, Mel Brooks comedy classic, Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993). Anything but the 2018 version people. Anything but the 2018 version.
Have you seen the new Robin Hood? Which adaptation are you a fan of?
Let me know in the comments or on social media.