Director Otto Bathurst's Robin Hood arrived in theaters today with a target painted on its back, and film critics have gleefully taken aim.
Previously titled Robin Hood: Origins, the Taron Egerton-led retelling encountered numerous obstacles before it even secured a release. The film was originally set to open early this year, but was pushed six months to September, before finally landing on Nov. 20. While a reshuffling of a studio's calendar is hardly uncommon, moving Robin Hood to the fall seemed to indicate Liongate's uncertainty about Robin Hood. Therefore, it's not entirely surprising then that this reimagining of the legendary outlaw has received a dreadful 15 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes.
As that plummeting Tomatometer figure suggests, critics aren't holding back with the slings and arrows directed at this latest Robin Hood. Here's a selection of some of the sharpest barbs:
Alexandra August, CBR: "It's simply another action movie desperately hoping to spawn a franchise, despite doing nothing to justify one."
Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter: “I would tell you what year it is, but...I can't remember,” Robin (Taron Egerton of the Kingsman films) utters at the outset, thus liberating this videogamey film from any obligation to period verisimilitude and freeing the title character to sport what resembles a very expensive modern ski parka. There is a throwaway line about the depicted conflict being set during the third crusade, which was at the end of the 12th century, but from the look of the sets we seem to be in a designer mall in contemporary London."
David Ehrlich, indieWire: "Brace yourselves for an 'edgy,' modern (but not modernized) retelling of a really old myth that opens with a voiceover instructing viewers to “Forget history, forget what you believe, forget what you know,” before launching into a wannabe blockbuster so derivative that other directors should receive its residuals. Gird your loins for a misguided attempt to profit off the public domain that takes its one big idea — what if we marketed 15th century class warfare to millennials? — and leans into it so hard that the movie starts to feel less like Robin Hood than it does a castrated Riverdale spinoff for Bernie bros (it’s always fun to watch a shameless product of capitalist machinery try and sell itself on socialist ideals)."
Andy Crump, Polygon: "Turns out every previous adaptation of the legend failed to note that Robin, more than a thief, was actually Batman, eras before Bruce Wayne’s parents died in an alleyway."
Yolanda Machado, TheWrap: "But objectifying the only woman in the cast with a speaking role isn’t the only crime Robin Hood commits. Rife with stereotypes, a terrible script, and odd 300-esque cinematography that just doesn’t fit, this is not only a film nobody asked for, but also one that nobody should be forced to endure."
Rafer Guzman, Newsday: "Something looks odd in Robin Hood, Otto Bathurst’s adaptation of the English folk tale. We can tell this is a 'stylistic' take on a familiar story, like Guy Ritchie’s saucy King Arthur: Legend of the Sword or the bloodied-up Jane Austen romance Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. The conceptual twist isn’t immediately apparent, but wait — is that a fleece interior to Robin’s nylon jacket? Are those white Vibram soles on the Sheriff of Nottingham’s boots? Yes, by God, it’s — corporate retail Robin Hood!"
Michael O'Sullivan, The Washington Post: "Does Robin Hood, with its subtext of populism, have anything to say about the current cultural moment? Doubtful. It’s probably more helpful to think of the director Otto Bathurst as just a poor man’s Guy Ritchie, the filmmaker who never met a beloved character he couldn’t improve on. I’m thinking of Robert Downey Jr.’s turbocharged Sherlock Holmes and Charlie Hunnam’s steroidal King Arthur."
Maureen Lee Lenker, Entertainment Weekly: "'Forget what you’ve seen before; forget what you think you know,'the opening monologue of the latest adaptation of Robin Hood begins. It’s supposed to be a clever bid from the filmmakers to build a new origin story for the goodhearted thief, but instead the instructions feel like more of a desperate plea that you’ll forget anything that ever made you enjoy a Robin Hood movie — because none of that is to be found here."
Directed by Otto Bathurst, Robin Hood stars Taron Egerton as Robin, Jamie Foxx as Little John, Eve Hewson as Maid Marian, Ben Mendelsohn as the Sheriff of Nottingham, Tim Minchin as Friar Tuck, Jamie Dornan as Will Scarlet, Paul Anderson as Guy of Gisborne, Josh Herdman as Righteous, and Bjorn Bengtsson as Tydon. The film is in theaters now.