And I do mean "sadly," because this movie has so much potential! I mean, you've got Russell Crowe looking fit and fearsome as Robin Hood.
You've got Cate Blanchett as a determined, weary Marion (not a maid though -- she's a widow).
You've got Matthew Macfadyen having waaay too much fun playing the sinister Sheriff of Nottingham.
And you've got this ultra-scowly Sheriff's Thug to spice things up!
Oh yes, my friends, that is a young and lunchable Luke Evans right there, making a one-line appearance and scowling so fiercely he makes MY face hurt. That screencap above is way too dark to be properly appreciated, so here's a closer, lightened up version for you to enjoy.
Okay, so you've got all that amazing talent, you've got wonderful costumes, you've got Ridley Scott directing, and Brian Helgeland writing the screenplay -- how did this go so wrong?! Actually, I think I know. This is how:
This is the final words-panel, which pops up before the end credits. This movie was meant to be the beginning of a series. And instead of writing a super-actiony Robin Hood retelling, they wrote an origins story that spent 45 minutes getting to Nottingham. Instead of giving us all the fun stuff we expected, with Robin teasing the Sheriff of Nottingham, the archery tournament, robbing the rich to feed the poor and so on... we got a convoluted origin story. Which, you know, wouldn't be so bad if this was a TV mini-series and we had more episodes to expound the story with. Or if this was a prequel to a movie about all the usual fun Robin Hood stuff. Or even if this movie was called The Origins of Robin Hood or something like that instead.
There's a lot of fun there, even so. You've got Robin Hood shooting his bow and arrow once in a great while.
You've got Robin Hood riding a horse. He rides quite well, and I rather wish there had just been 45 minutes of him riding a horse at the beginning instead of all that nonsense about the Crusades and politics.
You've got Robin Hood shirtless. No explanation necessary.
And you've got this awesomely shot invasion of England that makes this look like the D-DAY landing during WWII, only the attack is coming from the opposite side of the channel.
But what you don't have is a solid Robin Hood story. It ends right when all the fun should begin, with Robin gathering a following, hiding out in Sherwood Forest, and making a stand against the Sheriff of Nottingham. If only the rest of the movie had lasted maybe half an hour, and then they'd gone on from there, maybe it wouldn't have flopped. At the very least, maybe I would have liked it better.
Is this movie family friendly? NO. I'm rather shocked it's only got a PG-13 rating. There's lots of spattery violence, innuendo all over, an attempted rape, and buckets of sexual tension between Robin and Marian, though I was super surprised and excited that they never actually slept together. Just a lot of desirous glances and so on.