REVIEW: Robin Hood (2018)

Robin Hood (2018) is not an egregious failure, but a hodgepodge of quickly cut sequences and trope filled performance. It’s the original sun chips of movies. Decent enough to eat as part of a free lunch but never something I’d seek out.

In the preamble of the film, Friar Tuck stumbles over a voice over preparing the audience for the story to come. He warns us from the get go that this will not be typical Robin Hood fare. No, what you’ve heard is kids stuff compared to the REAL DEAL! And honestly, I’ll give him that. Out of all the modern Robin Hood portrayals I’ve seen this one balances the best between old school mirth and newfound carnage.

Robin is a war veteran of the crusades in Otto Bathurst’s interpretation, Little John, a fighter on the opposing side. Their battle could be straight out of The Hurt Locker: violent, morally ambiguous, and clearly traumatizing. But then as things come back to England the film switches into classic mode. I was tossed into the same wry smiles and clear good guys I expected from the title but with a more violent edge.

My reaction to this can be summed up as: eh.

A superhero-y training montage and a couple of shaky cam Marvel fights showcase the clear franchise hopes the producers had when this project was greenlit. They even allow the Sheriff of Nottingham to maintain his cartoony evil villain status by sprouting lines like “I’m going to boil you in your own piss.”

The comic book similarities don’t stop there as Marian is set to be the Lois Lane of the film. A woman of the people, she’s shown to be fairly capable but never becomes directly involved in the hardcore battles.

Oh…and I forgot to mention…she’s part of a major love triangle! Ugh. It’s such a lazy route to go. Why not have her fight alongside the hood as a cohort? Or maybe Robin joins HER thief’s crusade? Or why not do something, anything, besides the same shallow romance side plot? I swear, it feels like Hollywood must be legally required to meet a quota of action film love triangles.

The visuals are fun to look at as modern camera movement blends with faint hints of period in the art direction. Arrows explode like bullets, horses wheelie over wooden CGI skyscrapers like motorcycles, and everyone sports riot gear/trendy bandanas. There’s something fantasy cyberpunk about it that would be amazing given a fresher subject matter. Story-wise it does its best to show that Robin Hood is a tale out of time, an allegory that promotes subverting corruption even in 2018, and while I appreciate that I once again say…eh.

It doesn’t hit as hard as it could.

None of these choices are exactly bad but I’d definitely categorize them as bland. Love the movie, hate the movie, you do you. As far as my review is concerned I’ll split the difference.