Although it's completely not my genre, Sir Ridley Scott's Robin Hood gives moviegoers a lot of bang for their buck. The story follows Robin Longstride (Russell Crowe), an Archer fighting under King Richard's regime in France. He and his comrades decidee to returns to England after the King is killed at war. Along the way, he comes across Robert Locksley (Douglas Hodge) who is ordered by King Richard to return his Crown to England, but Robert dies in transit and he entrusts Robin to take over the task, while requesting one final wish for him to to return his sword back to his father, Sir Walter Loxley (Max von Sydow).
It is learned though that Godfrey (Mark Strong), who appears to be have allegiances to England, is actually plotting a secret French invasion of England. An arrogant and egotistical King John (Oscar Isaac) is crowned the new King of England after learning of his brother's death, and he appoints Godfrey as Earl Marshall, proving to be a fatal error. Along the way, Robin and his companions return to England where he meets Sir Walter and his daughter-in-law Marion (Cate Blanchett). Robin is rewarded with more than he bargains for, including the hand in marriage of his Robert's strong-willed estranged wife, who agrees to re-wed only to keep her 5,000 acres of land as she would not be able to keep this without her husband being present.
Robin Hood is a gorgeously shot film with plenty of scenic overhead shots under John Mathieson's helm, although I will say that his insistence on zooming in on the actor's faces prior to scene transitions, does become a bit grating. The film spends much of its time delving into historial details in painting a picture of a country divided by political turmoil. We see a new King who struggles to gain the respect of his people in times of warfare when it is much needed and understand fully why it is he fails to connect with his people. It also raises the importance of integrity and going against the grain even if it means challending authority for the greater good. Robin's unwavering selflessness makes him a true hero. The epic battle scene which takes place for the last half hour of the film is phenomenal and it's clear after seeing this, where a majority of the film's $200 million production budget went.
Although I had my doubts about Crowe's ability to play an Action Hero still, he did an outstanding job in his role. Also, villains King John (Isaac) and Godfrey (Strong) are played with venomous perfection here and as always, Blanchett delivers nothing but quality as a no-nonsense Marion, a perfect complement to Robin.
Universal Pictures' Robin Hood is now in wide release and proves rewarding, even if it does not charter any new territory with a classic story. Grade: A-