The Kid Who Would Be King

Rated 2.0

A modern-day bullied kid pulls a sword out of a stone and is tasked with saving the world in The Kid Who Would Be King, writer-director Joe Cornish’s attempt to capture the youthful, magical wonder of Harry Potter and mix it with the legend of King Arthur. While he doesn’t completely fail, an overall drab directorial style, messy action and many moments that are far less clever than they think they are keep this action-adventure from being a true crowd-pleaser. This one will probably work better on a smaller screen, so wait until it’s streaming. Do that, and you’ll catch a pretty good performance from Louis Ashbourne Serkis (son of Andy) as British school kid Alex, the fed-up boy who sticks his neck on the line to protect best bud Bedders (Dean Chaumoo) from bully Lance (Tom Taylor). Serkis is a little overwrought in some of the film’s more emotionally demanding parts, but he hits the right notes when it comes to Alex’s heroic proclamations after he procures Excalibur from a big rock in the middle of a construction site. Alex happens to notice that Bedders sounds a lot like Bedivere, and Lance is short for Lancelot, so he figures destiny requires him to knight the two, along with Kaye (Rhianna Dorris), Lance’s partner in crime. They form an unlikely alliance against Morgana (Rebecca Ferguson), banished half-sister of King Arthur who will return in flying dragon lady form and make England the hub for the apocalypse.