When I saw Little John in this film, I was thinking to myself the whole time – this guy looks so familiar, where have I seen him before? It wasn’t till the next day that I realised he is The Blob (the oversized boxing guy) from X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Little John aside, we are here to see Robin Hood himself right? In this 2010 version, Robin is played by Russell Crowe of all people. A little too old maybe, maybe definitely, considering this film is the ORIGIN of the character.
Russell Crowe’s acting is nothing to complain about, although you may think you are watching Gladiator again. Actually, it’s the Gladiator character put into a Kingdom of Heaven setting. And what does Gladiator, Kingdom of Heaven and Robin Hood all have in common? All directed by Ridley Scott, who is eerily becoming one of my favourite directors.
Anyway, Robin is on a delivery mission that takes him and his merry men to a faraway farm. Robin sees things and meets people who helps him learn more about his past. He even visits the place of his ‘creation’. The X-Men Origins: Wolverine moments are interesting but they did not really fit into the rest of the story. There are some emotional problems that Robin is facing, but they never really went anywhere. Maybe I wasn’t paying attention, but I didn’t even know how Robin lost his memory in the first place.
More interesting is the war story between the English and the French. Mark Strong plays the villain in this film, who is the roughly same evil schemer he was in Sherlock Holmes and Kick Ass. Here, he gets into a rivalry with Robin and both their armies battle it out on a beach. It’s a giant battle, but nothing we haven’t seen before elsewhere. Nevertheless, the action in this film is dramatic enough and packs enough punch to stir up your excitement.
If you are thinking of making the whole family sit down and watch a fun Robin Hood movie, be informed that this is not the Robin Hood that older folks are familiar with. 2010’s Robin Hood is essentially a dark war story that gets violent occasionally. There is a tiny bit of nostalgic Robin Hood adventure, but the light-hearted stuff is kept to a bare minimum.
This film ends with a The Dark Knight moment of Robin Hood being declared an outlaw, and bigger adventures seem to be on the horizon for the wanted archer. I’m not sure if I really want to see a sequel to this version of Robin Hood, but Ridley Scott’s good direction and Russell Crowe’s convincing performance makes this film better than it otherwise would have been.