|$||72.5M||Iron Man 3|
|$||50.0M||The Great Gatsby (2013)|
|$||5.0M||Pain & Gain|
|As of May 13, 2013|
This new Robin Hood is less of a thief and more of a journeyman warrior. Rightfully so as there is nothing Ridley Scott knows how to do better than direct battle scenes. The man must have been born during a game of Chess or Stratego. The four featured actors are Russell Crowe (Robin Longstride of the Hood), Max Von Sydow (Sir Walter Loxley, former devotee of Robin’s father), Cate Blanchett (Maid Marion Loxley), and Marc Strong (Philip Godfrey). At the beginning Robin is a soldier in the army of England’s King Richard ceour de lion (the "Lionhearted"). Robin is punished when he publicly disagrees with the King’s decision to decimate unarmed civilians during their crusade. While the King is busy fighting he is finally brought down by a random arrow shot to the jugular vein and this offers our hero in the making an opportunity to escape with his friends and roam free. This brings us to a coincidental happenstance. Maid Marion is a widow of a dying husband slain by Philip. I have always wondered if a woman has outlives two husbands does she then become a widowerer? Or just a good housekeeper? As Philip is about to issue a second killing stroke Robin and his friends (including "little John" not the rap artist yeah!) ambush them. Philip is dispatched and Robin is asked to return the dying man’s sword to his disappointed father Sir Walter Loxley.
Meanwhile, several adventures are underway and will eventually coalesce for the climax and the denouement. Richard’s only surviving son Prince John and his femme fatale Eleanor of Aquitaine are conspiring to take the throne. This is made incredibly easy by the fortuitous and untimely death of his father in battle on his way home to reclaim the crown. Robin and company deliver the crown and then set off to return the dead knight’s sword. This brings him to Maid Marion a grieving and faithful widow and her father, a former follower of Robin’s philosophizing dad, Sir Walter. Slowly their affection for one another builds as Robin proves himself a decent man and a warrior at that. In London Prince John is crowned and becomes fooled by Philip Godfrey whose ambition is to divide England by instigating civil war and then to unleash the full invading French fleet on England for his own usurpation. He is the traitorous villain who nearly dooms the entire nation and easily coerces a young and irascible King John.
King John eventually listens to reason because his father’s longtime devotee and advisor of state William Marshall (played by the talented William Hurt) convinces the Queen of her husband’s closest friend Godfrey’s double-cross. One the King has his sights set on quelling a rebellion and preventing an invasion in its infancy all of England becomes united, nobles and lords as well as "Sir" Robin who is impersonating Sir Robert Loxley. The battle for England is fierce and exciting. The combat scenes where the precision of archers is unveiled is fascinating. The actions of the characters make sense from a storyline perspective and the King (played by Guatemalan Oscar Isaac) fools nearly everybody with promises of a redrafting of England’s laws. Their is so much trickery and chicanery that the real villain is not revealed to be the new boy king until the end. Divine right monarchy rules the day across Europe. In a sense, and please former professors and mentors do not shoot the counterfactualistic conservative here, if monarchs and Queens had been more steadfast Europe might still be ascendant and powerful rather than bankrupt and decaying, go Western Union, I mean European Union! Politics aside, Russell Crowe does what he does best here, plays the macho man en fuego (yes, "I’ve got to be a macho man!).
The new Robin Hood is only the beginning of a franchise that will in all likelihood extend itself to a trilogy. Crowe desperately needs a movie series to call his own. Too often is he remembered for Gladiator and A Beautiful Mind and for nothing else but boring stinkers. Robin Hood is the feel good movie of late spring and possibly the entire summer depending on how movies such as The Karate Kid turn out. Let’s hope that Jackie Chan goes all Jackie Chan on us if this is to be a successful summer of films. Jon Favreau’s Iron Man 2 would have done well to come out after Robin Hood as it would have learned that less is more. Simplicity and the basics will always work better than lame parlor tricks and eye-pleasing stunts. Been there, done that, and would rather have a storyline attached. Robin Hood offers a great deal. It is not spectacular and it is not great but it is charming and is a fun ride if you decide to drive.
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