The Kid Who Would Be King
Directed By: Joe Cornish
Written By: Joe Cornish
Staring: Louis Ashbourne Serkis, Denise Gough, , Dean Chaumoo, Angus Imrie
Rating: PG
Release Date: January 25, 2019

What a delightful movie! The Kid Who Would Be King is a classic children’s tale that introduces a band of kids who must complete a quest to save the world while learning about growing up and friendship. It hits all the trademarks you’d expect and major credit goes to writer and director Joe Cornish for blending the old medieval tale of King Arthur with modern wit and fun. The Kid Who Would Be King reminded me of my childhood and reliving epic battles with wrapping paper rolls, and to have those memories flood back is a ton of fun.

Alex (Louis Ashbourne Serkis) is a normal kid until he comes up on the mythical sword Excalibur in a construction site. Once he pulls out the sword, an adventure begins that links Alex and his friends along with Merlin (Angus Imrie & Sir Patrick Stewart) and together the work in order to defeat the hibernating enchantress Morgana (Rebecca Ferguson).

What makes The Kid Who Would Be King fly by is the modern day take on the classic coming-of-age tale. King Arthur needs to learn to be a leader in the medieval legend, and Alex is following that same path as a young student trying to survive school. By pulling out Excalibur, and with the pushing of Merlin, Alex learns to discover his voice is a human way. The idea of needing to fill a destiny and overcoming the odds, while also learning to be a chivalrous knight, makes Alex’s story one every young boy can relate to.

The axle of The Kid Who Would Be King’s story is Merlin; in particular young Merlin. Angus Imrie is marvelous. His character’s fish-out-of-water awkwardness isn’t cringeworthy; rather its endearing. I can’t explain it. The long neck, sneery smile and bombastic voice just captivated me. Everything about him was just outlandish enough that it allows the audience to buy in and forces them to suspend their disbelief even more.

Merlin (Angus Imrie) surrounded by Arthur and his fellowship

The quarter of kids, led by Louis Ashbourne Serkis, all gel together well. But much like Archie Yates as Yorki in Jo Jo Rabbit, the tertiary side kick Bedders played by first time actor Dean Chaumoo was the funniest bit of the movie. He has some of the best lines in the movie, and it’s him showing his magical growth to Alex that pushes the The Kid Who Would Be King to its final act.

Turning our attending back toward the creator of this movie, Joe Cornish really delivers. Looking at his IMDB, the man has been knocking solid scripts out of the park since he broke onto the scene with 2011’s Attack The Block. From there he teamed with Steven Spielberg in The Adventures Of Tintin (2011) and then tackled the Marvel Universe with Ant-Man. The Kid Who Would Be King is his second directing effort with the first being Attack The Block, and that is not strictly a coincidence. Both tales take a classic story or concept and throw it into a new setting with a group of friends at the center of it. The new adventure in both cases is fast-paced, witty and magnetic.

There isn’t a lot of nuance in critiquing The Kid Who Would Be King. Plainly put, the movie is much more enjoyable that anyone could have expected and if I ever have kids one day, I’ll be happy to show it and watch it again. Embrace your inner kid. Embrace your little child. Believe in the sword of the stone and what’d it be like if you pulled it.

Stanko Rating: B (3.5/5 Stars)

“The Kid Who Would Be King” IMDB
“The Kid Who Would Be King” Rotten Tomatoes

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