Robin Hood: The Wandering
Updated: Oct 14, 2019
This scene pretty much encapsulates my initial thoughts when I heard of another Robin Hood: Again? And honestly I went to see it because Jamie Fox was in the movie. Sadly he's pretty much cemented himself as a phenomenal actor who picks middling movies (exception: The Amazing Spiderman 2; that movie was far better than critics suggested), and this was no different.
The story rambles on from start to finish as if it had no real defined goal, but sort of stumbles to a conclusion. It starts with Robin (Played by Taron Egerton) meeting Maryanne (Played by Eve Hewson) and falling in love. After a good five minutes of this he's off to war. And it appears he was there for some time. He's learned tactics, teamwork, and he's quite good with a bow. He's a bit of a hero really.
And then he commits treason to try and rescue a Moorish prisoner from execution. Wait . . . what? He's been fighting these guys for years. His faith's told him they are all heathens. They just caught his buddy and used his screams to bait an ambush. One of them nearly killed him before being treated to the jedi version of disarmament. But killing a prisoner? Well that's just crossing a line. Better free the prisoners. I'm sure they'll understand and no hard feelings.
And this is not the only time the characters are acting clearly out of character to suit the writer's whims. As Robin gets back to Locksley he finds his home in ruins, discovers Maryanne has moved on, and forges an alliance with the very man that tried so nearly successfully to hack off his head.
And this Moor called John (played by Jamie Fox) has a plan. Its a plan you may recognize from the Antonio Banderas version of Zorro. His motives are sound and intelligent. He wants to end the war on his people. That would be the war being led by King Richard? By all means, lets fight the guy that's usurping him, the same guy that has a secret alliance with his people. Yes, it makes sense.
No it does not. Nor do Robin's motives. He comes back home to find his manor ransacked (and surprisingly empty of the homeless you'd expect to take advantage of such a situation) and the masses being driven to work in mines. All of which happened in his absence. And what does he do? Lets rob from the rich and give to the poor! I mean, if he'd shown any love for his people before being sent away this might make sense. And no, letting a beautiful woman steal his horse (at some point its just a gift right?) to help some farmer out does not count. That's hormones. Yet he jumps straight into his role as the savior of the downtrodden. One would think he'd simply kill the sheriff. It would certainly be easier.
It is, of course, quite convenient that there's an entire underground movement working to expose the sheriff that Robin could step up to lead. Of course, that's the same Robin of Locksley that's been publicly kissing said sheriff's ass for some time. Why wouldn't the poor flock to his banner? Narry a one thinks this might be a trap. I mean, he's rich. Could he not simply get the same outfit as their masked savior? Nope, that's our guy. It's in the script.
Oh, don't worry. They pay for it. The 'plan' Robin concocts to stop the sheriff is quite needlessly wasteful in lives.
Now, all of this is not to say the movie was bad. The acting was quite good from all hands. I particularly enjoyed the dualities of emotion portrayed by Taron Egerton as he tries to kiss the ass of a man he loathes. Many of the characters were fresh reimaginings of stock characters. Personally I think this iteration of Friar Tuck is probably the best one yet. I appreciated the expansion upon the sheriff's backstory which made the character seem more real. And Will Scarlet (Played by Jamie Dornan) has truly stepped out on his own.
The fighting in this movie is unique as well. Instead of having Robin simply be the best damned archer and swordsman (seriously, try building that guy in dnd) in the world he is simply good with a bow to start. John makes him better. And it is his chosen weapon in any engagement. The short range bow fighting scenes are some of the highlights of the movie.
Of course I'm certain some people are upset at the real world ending of the movie. Instead of simply ending the threat of such a high powered collaboration at the death of one conspirator the danger still remains. I know right? How dare they not end with an happily ever after scene?! Maybe Robin searching for a locksmith?
But that's not life. A group of conspirators (and face it, that's what it would take) doesn't quit because one man was killed. They replace him and move on.
Overall, this movie brings its own angle to an old tale. I can appreciate that. But the overall direction is haphazard and steers the course laid by a drunken sea captain. The characters act out of character in several situations simply to further the plot. And yet it was still moderately enjoyable. The action is crisp and new and the actors performed brilliantly. It was clearly designed as a multi movie story, and its next iteration (assuming there is one) might just be much better. Even as I give this movie a 72%. I know I'll probably watch a sequel if its made.