The Kid Who Would Be King is an intersection between fantasy and reality. Alexander “Alex” Elliott (Louis Ashbourne Serkis) is a 12-year-old boy who is going through a rough time in his life. Raised in a single parent home, he yearns for the presence of his father who has not been a part of his life for many years. In addition, he is a frequent target for school bullies. One day, Alex is mistreated yet again by two bullies Lance (Tom Taylor) and Kaye (Rhianna Doris), and this time he fights back, tackling Lance.
After the school day concludes, Alex is chased by Lance and Kate to a construction site, where he finds and subsequently pulls King Arthur’s famous sword Excalibur. He discovers that he is destined to form a new round table for an upcoming battle with the medieval villain Morgana “Morgan” le Fay (Rebecca Ferguson), who summons evil forces to rule the world. The wizard Merlin, who appears young but can transform into his old self with a simple sneeze, assists Alex in his quest to save the universe before it’s too late. Merlin is portrayed by Angus Imrie as a teenager and veteran actor Patrick Stewart in his true form. Merlin pretty much steals the show and does it all in a Led Zepplin t-shirt — super badass.
It’s unfortunate that this movie ended up bombing at the box office, grossing only $16.7 million on a $59 million budget. I truly enjoyed it. Robin Hood, released late last year, didn’t successfully blend a medieval story with modern elements but I think The Kid Who Would Be King did so in spades. It has a healthy amount of heart and action, plus quite a bit of humor. I broke out laughing during a number of scenes — a very pleasant surprise. Overall, this film has a fresh, compelling feel and is worth seeing.
I give The Kid Who Would Be King four out of five stars.