Robin Hood is one of those characters, like King Arthur, Sherlock Holmes, James Bond, and Batman, that we’ll continue to see countless versions of in media until the end of time. With Robin Hood being public domain, it’s no surprise that various movie and TV studios and other entertainment companies will use him as much as they can. He’s well-known, entertaining, and costs nothing to adapt into new stories. The most recent big-screen adaptation of the character was 2018’s Robin Hood, starring Taron Egerton in the titular role and Jamie Foxx as Little John. The movie was completely trashed by critics when it was released, but I’m here to say that it’s actually an underrated gem.
There’s a lot that this film got right. For starters, the action is nothing short of exciting. It’s quite nice to see an action movie with bows, arrows, and swords as opposed to guns and superpowers nowadays. Most of the performances are fantastic with Taron Egerton truly bringing the legendary hero to life. There’s strong political commentary that held true during the medieval setting the movie takes place in, but is also relevant today. There’s plenty of emotional moments throughout, like Little John losing his son after Robin Hood attempted to save him. Even the set design was extremely impressive throughout the movie.
One of the most intriguing elements of this Robin Hood film was that it actually felt like an interesting origin story for him and his Merry Men. We meet each of them and become more of their own group toward the end of the story. The movie even sets up the Sheriff of Nottingham and the Cardinal as antagonists who will now forever be after the scoundrel known as Robin Hood, along with other lore from the classic tales. Because of this, I was genuinely hoping to see this become more of a franchise with plenty of sequels following the adventures of Robin Hood, Marion, and the Merry Men. A handful of sequels could have explored things more as well as improve upon what folks didn’t quite like about the first one. Unfortunately it’s not likely that we’ll see that come to fruition after being critically panned so harshly.
It’s by no means a perfect movie. There’s some instances of CGI that were so-so at best. Some of the dialogue and Hood’s costume could have been better, but it definitely doesn’t deserve the hate that it received. It’s still an incredibly entertaining movie, afterall.
Robin Hood received a 15% on Rotten tomatoes, a 5.3/10 on IMDb, and a 32% on Metacritic. Critics have called the film “silly,” “insubstantial,” and “uninspired.” It’s worth noting that almost every critic who panned the film gave no specifics as to how it matches any of those terms. Throwing around words that mean negative things without actually discussing the film is not a true movie review. What they’re missing is that the movie, while not perfect, is highly entertaining. It’s certainly better than the 2010 take on the legend that had Gerard Butler play Robin Hood as he hung out on a boring old farm for two hours.
Maybe someday we’ll get to see a modern Robin Hood movie franchise take off. In the meantime, check this one out if you haven’t. Maybe you’ll enjoy it as much as I did.