Jacob Richardson | 12/12/2018
A dismal mess that never hits it’s target.
After a stint in the crusades in Arabia, Lord Robin of Loxley (Taron Edgerton) returns to find his manor in ruins, and his partner Marian (Eve Hewson) gone, all at the hands of the notorious Sheriff of Nottingham (Ben Mendelsohn). Eager for revenge, he teams up with one-handed stowaway Little John (Jamie Foxx) to create the hooded avenger we know from lore.
Flawed on nearly every level, Robin Hood is one misstep after another.
To begin with, the script is overly laden with cliches and groan-worthy proclamations. Jamie Foxx in particular gets to deliver some horrible dialogue, and no matter how much he throws himself into this rockstar version of Little John, he can’t make the torrent of nonsense stick. Mendelsohn, too, gets laden with some true clunkers as the evil Sheriff, and can never make his iteration even close to as memorable as Alan Rickman’s.
The action is choppy and difficult to follow. Early scenes in Arabia look like a cut-scene from Call of Duty, while later scenes in a mining slum are so dark that one can barely follow the movement. Evidently trying to emulate some of Guy Ritchie’s signature style, Robin Hood cuts every action set piece together so rapidly that one is never quite sure where everyone is, what they are actually doing or why they are doing it.
The ‘why they are doing it’ question is much more systemic than the action, though, as the entire plot is pretty much incoherent. The Sheriff and an evil Cardinal are somehow teaming up to take down the British Monarchy by funding a war in Arabia through hefty taxes on the population of Nottingham. It doesn’t make a huge amount of sense, any more so than it does that Robin can return and suddenly become the close confidant of the Sheriff. Time is not a thing in this universe, and we never really know if five years or five days pass between when Robin returns from Arabia and when he finally takes down the Sheriff.
Indeed, on a broader spectrum, time is abundantly mocked through the lack of period-relevant dress. The costumes are straight up ridiculous, and Taron Edgerton looks like a Zara model throughout. Meanwhile, Mendelsohn looks like he stepped off the set of the latest Star Wars movie. It is just another nail in the coffin of unbelievability that this movie should be buried in.
The one good thing that can be said for Robin Hood is that Taron Edgerton is engaging and electric as the title character. He is a brief saving grace amongst the strangely boring absurdity that is the rest of the film.
Robin Hood is a joke. Avoid at all costs.