The classic story of King Arthur has a grittier look thanks to acclaimed director Guy Ritchie.

In his newest film, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, Arthur (Charlie Hunnam, Sons of Anarchy) is a streetwise gang leader who runs the back alleys of medieval London, England, with wit and daring—unaware that he was born to greatness.

Arthur is the lost son of King Uther Pendragon (Eric Bana, Munich, Star Trek), who was murdered by his brother Vortigern (Jude Law, Sherlock Holmes, The Young Pope). Becoming king in Arthur's place, Vortigern now rules the kingdom with an iron grip.

Vortigern seems secure on his throne despite scattered resistance. That is, until the fabled “sword in the stone” is unexpectedly revealed. Legend says that whoever can remove the sword from its rocky base is prophesied to be the rightful king.

Many attempts are made by peasants and nobles alike to remove the sword. None succeed—until Arthur grasps hold of it. With that act, his future becomes clear. Instantly challenged by the power of the sword he wields, Arthur is forced to make some hard choices. Throwing in with the resistance, he must learn to master the sword, known as Excalibur, unite the people to defeat the tyrant Vortigern and become king.

“I've never had any power, or any desire to achieve it,” Arthur says. But once he pulls the sword from the stone, his life is turned upside down.

Swords and Stones
“This is the Guy Ritchie King Arthur,” Hunnam stated in a recent Facebook interview. “If you are going to tackle a story that's been told many times before, you have to try to make it feel fresh and give it reason and a new sensibility. We've seen the King Arthur who goes on a noble quest a million times. What if we made him a guy from the streets who had done very well for himself, who's kind of selfish? He takes care of the people closest to him but has no noble aspirations.

“There's a reluctance for Arthur to take this responsibility as heir to the throne primarily because he's fairly happy in the environment that he's in,” continued Hunnam, “but when he's honest with himself, it's fear-based. He's terrified of this sense of responsibility and what it will require of him. Arthur's journey represents the struggle that we all have to overcome our internal demons to be strong enough to conquer our external challenges.”

Like Arthur, we have a higher calling. In Ephesians 2:10, the Apostle Paul says, “For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

As with Arthur, we are often tempted to run from our responsibility. How do we find strength to tackle that personal sword in the stone and wrench it free?

We can find that through prayer, careful study of the Bible and surrounding ourselves with people to encourage us—our own personal Round Table. Just as Arthur turned to the resistance against his uncle,  so we can find in the church our own united force against injustice and oppression. Standing for good is not always easy, but with Jesus, the King of Kings, on our side, the victory is already won. Whether we are a king or a commoner, our destiny with God is secure.

Leave a Comment