Robin Hood (2018): ‘Losing the Fable, Gaining a Label’ – A Film Review




Amongst the many recurring characters of film history, and one of the British characters from history, is Robin Hood, robs from the poor and gives to the rich. Like Tarzan, Dracula or King Arthur (coincidentally with another film interpretation released just last year – King Arthur: Legend of the Sword), Robin Hood has its own reboots, adaptations and ‘re-imaginings’. This particular version is written Ben and Chandler with TV director Otto Bathurst and staring the British star of Kingsman: Secret Service, Taron Egerton. Relatively new to film but certainly banking on their star, Robin Hood appears like a modern take on the story with the gritty and dark look. Trading away the greens of Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Disney‘s Robin Hood or Mel BrooksRobin Hood: Men in Tights, a common and popular association for the character, for a black armour and hood – much like 2010’s interpretation with perhaps that Kingsman: Secret Service  touch. It’s not a bad way to look at Robin Hood, but it’s maybe not historically accurate, though that may not be the purpose at all.


We Can Fight but We Can’t Think

The Hood becomes a symbol, a symbol for the oppressed and the rebellious spirit and the position the film takes against the government. This isn’t far from reality or from the original tale, however, it all feels a little basic and the film’s plot runs considerably similar to previous films like Batman Begins; and much like that franchise, Robin Hood is a Spartacus-like figure. This renders the film relatively predictable and, as plot points roll in, we’re given a basic premise to follow and to believe, as events develop. SPOILERS: Robin Hood’s getting into the good graces of the higher ups holds a very quick to trust and to then conveniently spill all of the darker plans to him – not to mention the exposition. END OF SPOILERS. The film feels geared towards young teens, and treating them as if they’re young. We do have some exciting set pieces and fight scenes but the film renders itself the basics of spectacles and poor comment on anything at all.


Emotional Stories…

The cast look as if they’re having fun with it and certainly manage to hold it up the most that they can. Jamie Foxx as Little John with Tim Minchin as Friar Tuck make for interesting interpretations of their characters and keep things entertaining as everything unfolds around them. It is at least, and on its most basic level, entertaining. If only for the fight scenes, chases and action. They’re small and contained but are at least fun to watch, despite limited tension. Even with the amount of empathy Taron Egerton can elicit the film struggles to keep the investment. The character has limited struggles, many problems but limited development.



It’s not something to read deeply into or even to get really invested in, but it passes the time. It’s far from historically accurate but perhaps that was intentional. Rather than a real tale it’s part historical, part modern and part future. Despite this, the film has little substance to really make anything worthwhile or any comment at all on anything thematically. It’s just trying to be a bit of fun and a bit of fun it’ll remain. Much like the 2010 reboot of Robin Hood it’s unlikely that there will be much of a franchise to this interpretation. Which is a shame for the film because Robin Hood certainly wants to continue its story. SPOILERS: For everything that happens, it is an almost disappointing comment (that doesn’t go anywhere), that the film effectively comes full circle. END OF SPOILERS.



Robin Hood and Marion are sweethearts when Robin Hood is conscripted into the crusades and then left for dead. Upon his return he creates a character to overthrow the regime that so wronged him and those that they sent to the war and taxed to ensure it could happen.




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A Note on My Reviews

Please read ‘On Reviews‘ for a guide to how I write film reviews. Any spoilers are appropriately marked and, though I personally prefer to know little about a film before seeing it, there is a synopsis below the review for any who wish to see one.


Films Mentioned

Batman Begins (d. Christopher Nolan USA/UK 2005)

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (d. Guy Ritchie USA 2017)

Kingsman: Secret Service (d. Matthew Vaughn UK/USA 2014)

Robin Hood (d. Otto Bathurst USA 2018)

Robin Hood (d. Ridley Scott USA/UK 2010)

Robin Hood (d. Wolfgang Reitherman USA 1973)

Robin Hood: Men in Tights (d. Mel Brooks USA/France 1993)

Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (d. Kevin Reynolds USA 1991)


Further Reading

Interview with Taron Egerton

Interview with Cast

Interview with Otto Bathurst

Behind the Scenes


Backlash Over the Costumes


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The Predator (2018): ‘And What Went Wrong?’ – A Film Review

Johnny English Strikes Again (2018): ‘Rowan Atkinson’s Grumble against Technology’ – A Film Review


This was an analytical review of….


Robin Hood (d. Otto Bathurst USA 2018)



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