IT'S ROBIN HOOD, for chrissakes—dude has a bow and arrow, he takes from the rich and gives to the poor, the end. You'd think that'd be pretty hard to screw up, right? Like, how many Robin Hood movies have there been? Roughly 5,000, from the fruity Errol Flynn ones to the Disney cartoon where he was a singing fox to that Kevin Costner/Morgan Freeman/Christian Slater/Bryan Adams/Alan Rickman's-gonna-cut-out-your-heart-with-a-spoon business. And yet: Any one of those 5,000 Robin Hoods is better than Ridley Scott's new Robin Hood, and yes, that even includes Robin Hood: Men in Tights.
'Cause here's the thing about Robin Hood's oft-repeated story: It works. Everybody likes Robin Hood, everybody hates the Sheriff of Nottingham, everybody thinks it's cool when Robin Hood does badass archery crap. Well, except for Ridley Scott.
With Ridley Scott's Robin Hood, instead of seeing Robin Hood take from the rich and give to the poor, or fight the Sheriff of Nottingham, or do anything cool at all, we get to watch Braveheart again. This time, Robin's named Robin Longstride (he's played by Russell Crowe, who seems to have been told to glower a lot), and he's an archer for the soon-to-be-dead King Richard (Danny Huston). Through various convoluted and interminable plot devices, Robin ends up in the village of Nottingham, where he glowers sexily at Marion Loxley (Cate Blanchett) and gets increasingly pissed about how Richard's successor, King John (Oscar Isaac), is a total douche. Oh, and the French are invading! Nineteen hours later, it all ends with a big speech and a bigger battle, and there's also a weird scene where Robin delves into his repressed childhood memories, which I'm guessing was a noble but futile attempt to give him more depth than that of a cartoon fox.
I could ramble on about Robin Hood's indistinguishable characters, or the baffling fact that Scott seems to have groomed not one but several of Robin Hood's actors to closely resemble himself, or the soul-strangling blandness of it all, but the point is this: Ridley Scott's Robin Hood is terrible and boring. On the upside, there are 4,999 better Robin Hoods out there. Netflix wins again.