Robin Hood Review

Yes, there are spoilers. You’ve been warned. Sorry, couldn’t help it…

by Tom Yorlum

 Robin Hood

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t sure about this movie the first time I saw it. I consider Gladiator one of the best movies of all time, so I had high expectations for this Ridley Scott directed film starring Russell Crowe. It was like a dream come true. Until I saw it.

It’s not that it was bad, I just had high expectations. Honestly, they could have just shown Gladiator on the screen (see this Collegehumor video) and I would have been satisfied! Oh, that was just the same film but they redubbed “Maximus” to “Robin Hood?” Cool, I’m happy. But that’s my love for Gladiator. You could put that thing on repeat for a week straight and I’d be happy.

Major problem—I didn’t get into it. Gladiator was easy to follow, even when I had no idea what was going on. Robin Hood, on the other hand, was tricky. They’re on a crusade, but then Robin is rude to the king and is taken prisoner, and then he escapes, and then the king is killed, and there’s some sort of conspiracy going on, and then the new king is a douche, and then the random mayors are mad at the throne… too many pieces for the first time viewer. The intro goes on for an hour, and it gets to the point where you really don’t care anymore. Even if Mark Addy is a bee and beer loving friar (yes, that’s King Robert from Game of Thrones, who is also the lovable but terrible father on Still Standing).

But on the second viewing of Robin Hood (or maybe it was my third, IDK), I realized how much I underestimated this movie. For the record, I never hated it, I was just disappointed with it (yeah I know, the cliché mom line). But once you understand what’s going on, it’s actually a phenomenal movie. You have Cate Blanchett in an amazing performance as the female lead, and her banter with Russel Crowe is quite amusing. At first I thought her performance was wooden, but that’s her character. If you understand what’s she’s been through, it’s easy to see why she’s so standoffish. She’s had to be the man of the household for the past decade, and now Russel Crowe walks in and takes up the role of her dead husband, which is basically a slap in her face given everything she’s done to keep this town up and running (and I have to ask, why don’t any of the townspeople or household workers question the fact that Russel Crowe looks nothing like the man he claims to be? Are they that forgetful?). Crowe’s performance was phenomenal—no surprise—and so were the other actors’.

I’m not totally into the whole “lions into lambs” or whatever, and I can’t say Robin’s story was as interesting as Maximus’, but it’s still a very good movie! The fight scenes are good (Cate Blanchett is a badass), the dialogue is masterfully written, and the music keeps it going. How many movies can end a huge fight scene with the shot of an arrow? Or a selfish king that has no problem charging head first into battle?

And the ending—I don’t want to ruin it, but if you’re reading this far you’ve probably already seen it—is satisfying. It makes you realize “Oh yeah, this is a Robin Hood movie!” And maybe that was my problem (along with the Gladiator expectations thing). I’m not a huge Robin Hood fan (I did see the Disney movie), and so I really didn’t know what to expect. But I definitely didn’t expect this. I liked it, probably better than what I would have expected. I didn’t appreciate it the first time, but I do now. And while it isn’t my favorite movie, it’s pretty darn good. So go in expecting a movie about a man struggling to survive in high feudal society, and I think you’ll be pleased.

Also, the Extended Edition, while slightly longer, adds a few KEY pieces to the storyline. I’m puzzled as to why some of them didn’t make the cut. It explains the story behind those weird masked kids… who, actually aren’t that weird when you know their story. Who’da thunk it?

Bottom Line: Four-and-a-Half Stars. I recommend it. If you don’t like it the first time, watch it again a few months later. Still don’t like it, well, you have no taste for historical epics.