‘The Kid Who Would Be King’ is the First Big Surprise of the Year

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Published January 30, 2019
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The Montclarion
"The Kid Who Would Be King" released on Jan. 25. Photo courtesy of 20th Century Fox

For years, January has been known to be arguably one of the worst months when it comes to movie releases. Usually, the month consists of generic and cliched films that hardly make any money at the box office.

The trailer for “The Kid Who Would Be King” certainly looked like it would follow that same trope. However, having seen the film, I am happy to report that this film genuinely surprised me, and I had a blast with it.

“The Kid Who Would Be King” is written and directed by Joe Cornish. It stars Louis Ashbourne Serkis, Denise Gough, Rhinna Doris, Angus Imrie, Rebecca Ferguson and Patrick Stewart. The plot follows a young teenager named Alex, who lives an ordinary life. He has one friend, gets bullied constantly and is misunderstood by his mother. One day, he pulls a sword out of a rock, after which chaos ensues. The next day, a wizard named Merlin shows up and tells Alex he is the king they have all been waiting for. Additionally, he needs to find allies to go on an adventure with and fight a wicked enchantress who wants to put the world into slavery.

I originally was not planning on seeing this because of how much I disliked the trailer. However, seeing that the film’s Rotten Tomatoes score was high, in addition to hearing the praise it’s been getting, I decided to give it a chance.

I’m very happy I did. This film contains great performances, exciting action sequences, likable characters and humor that mostly works. For a film released in January, it certainly is one of the better ones.

With the exception of Stewart and Ferguson, I am not familiar with any of the other actors in this film. In fact, the majority of these actors have only appeared in TV shows or short films. With that being said, I thought everyone did a terrific job in their roles.

Serkis plays the main protagonist, and I truly hope to see him in future roles. As a protagonist, he’s likable, believable and above all, an interesting character. There is a story arc he goes through, which I don’t want to spoil, but I will say that element of the movie made his character more sympathetic. I was impressed by his performance.

My favorite performance of the film, however, is Imrie as the wizard. Not only was he the funniest character but also the most compelling. There are plenty of scenes where he provides a lot of laughs, and his character sometimes transforms into an older version of himself, played by Stewart. While Stewart is not in the film that much, he delivers a very solid performance with the time he is given. And once again, that goes to everyone who acted in this film.

The direction stands out as well. The action scenes are well filmed and very entertaining to watch. There is a car chase and a finale which is engaging to watch, and even though it is a family-friendly film, there were some moments where I was on the edge of my seat. The pacing of the film is pretty good. I was never necessarily bored.

With that being said, I don’t think this film needed to be two hours long. There are some moments in the second act that do meander, and more detailed editing could have helped tighten the pacing. Not all the humor landed either. While the majority of it did, when it misses, it misses pretty hard. The film also possesses an element of predictability.

Due to these flaws, I can’t say that “The Kid Who Would Be King” is a great film, but it is certainly a solid one that surprised me on how good it ended up being. It’s not doing well at the box office at the moment, which is understandable because of its poor marketing.

I do hope people seek this film out because chances are, they will be pleasantly surprised like I was. I would say go see it at a matinee price, and if you have a younger sibling or a child, take them to see it with you.

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