Robin Hood, directed by Ridley Scott and starring Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett, is nearly a great movie. Scott and Crowe came close to recapturing the magic that made Gladiator so great. Unfortunately some tonal inconsistencies mar this epic just enough to make it slightly disappointing. Most of the Robin Hood is similar in tone to Gladiator, somber and serious with majesty and grandeur, but it also has some moments that come off as goofy. The movie is humorous in between the serious parts, which is not a problem on its own, but it does not in smoothly with the rest of the film.
One thing I liked about the film is the portrayal of Robin and his merry men. In the few scenes in which they act as a team are truly delightful. Robin, Little John, Will Scarlett and Allan A’Dayle go about their wayfaring exuberantly and it makes for some enjoyable scenes. Too bad such scenes were few and far between. Blanchett as Maid Marian was also very good, as was Friar Tuck. Easily the best parts of the film were the parts that focused on the traditional Robin Hood myths.
Then there were the historical parts, which were not quite as good. Kings Richard and John were great. Richard the Lionheart was well loved, but he did not actually care too much about governing his kingdom. And John was all hubris and arrogance he meant well, but he was not actually that good at being king. He was the King who ended up signing the Magna Carta, so having that be Robin’s focus rather than having him playing a waiting game while they hoped for Richard’s return from the Crusades was an interesting change. But there were also some quite strange things. Like Robin being a commoner who assumed the name of a dead noble. That itself is an interesting twist, but the fact that the father of the noble he impersonates just happened to know his real father strain credulity. That his real father just happened to be an integral part of the group that wrote the first attempt at a Magna Carta is unbelievable. The whole real father reveals were just confounding and disappointing. As was how people suddenly knew was an imposter at the end. The were also other strange bits, most notably Marian leading an army of orphans into the battle at the end.
Robin Hood is and enjoyable movie, but the little things that do not quite match the tone of the rest keep it from being great. A possible sequel, as the ending suggests and practically begs for would probably improve upon this one, with Robin and his merry men hopefully acting as outlaws more than in this film. But Robin Hood, in the end, is an almost great movie.