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The Kid Who Would Be King Movie Review – Reluctant Hero Triumphs

Reviewed by on Jan 25, 2019
Rating: 4 Star Rating

Read Kidzworld’s review of The Kid Who Would Be King, a fantasy adventure that pits a kid army against ancient evil. Will you relate to the tween who has to lead a young group of hopeful heroes?

By: Lynn Barker

In The Kid Who Would Be King, tween Alex Elliott (Louis Ashbourne Serkis) is bullied at school but always comes to the aid of others in the same situation, especially his BFF Bedders (Dean Chaumoo) who is set upon by school baddies Lance (Tom Taylor) and Kaye (Rhianna Doris).  When Alex literally pulls Excalibur, the ancient sword of King Arthur, out of a stone, he learns that he is destined to form a modern-day roundtable of knights and battle the ancient evil of sorceress Morgana le Fey (Rebecca Ferguson) who will rise with her supernatural forces to rule our world. Aiding Alex and his knights is the wizard Merlin (Angus Imrie and adult Patrick Stewart) who appears as a 16-year-old boy.

The Kid Who Would Be King Movie Trailer

A New Arthur?

Alex arrives at his school Dungate Academy to discover pal Bedders being hung upside down by bullies Lance and Kaye. He tries to stop them by jumping on snooty Lance who calls himself King of the School. Alex is disciplined and, despite his mom’s encouragement, loses his faith in goodness and magic while faithful Bedders still believes.

Morgana launches a spellMorgana launches a spellCourtesy of 20th Century Fox

An Ancient Evil

In a dark cavern below the earth where she has been banished and trapped by Merlin, sorceress Morgana, who believes she is the true heir to Arthur’s throne, watches the chaos above and realizes that humans are now more fearful, leaderless and growing weaker. Soon she and her undead army can rise and conquer! Modern-day evil bullies Kaye and Lance chase Alex into a construction site where he sees a huge sword sticking out of a column of stone. He is able to pull it out! Below, Morgana knows a new king has risen.

Alex can't believe he is a kingAlex can't believe he is a kingCourtesy of 20th Century Fox

The Sword and the Wizard

Alex takes the sword home and he and Bedders know what it seems to be but can’t believe it. They “play” king and knight. Alex knights Bedders. Meanwhile, at Stonehenge, a naked teen walks up from the stones to a nearby shop and gets a few clothes. He magically mesmerizes two cops and they drive him to Alex’s school where he turns into an owl. Calling himself Merton, a new student, he infiltrates Alex’s classes and continues to stare at him, creeping him out. He thought he’d have four years until Morgana would rise with her army but it’s only four days! She will rise during an upcoming lunar eclipse. He tries to tell Alex and Bedders what is coming but they don’t believe. Alex wants to take the sword back where he got it. Morgana realizes that a kid has drawn the sword. She sends a demon that rises from the ground and attacks Alex at home but Merlin saves him. Now Alex believes but his loving mom doesn’t of course.

Alex won't let go of the swordAlex won't let go of the swordCourtesy of 20th Century Fox

Meeting with Merlin

Bedders and Alex skip school and meet with Merlin who explains that he can only be in his human form during the day. Turns out the ancient potion of disgusting things that can re-power him is all duplicated in Kentucky Fried Chicken! Yuk! After eating some, he is powerful again. He explains that time freezes and mortals disappear when Morgana’s army rises. Only Alex and his knights will remain to fight. Alex has to take on his destiny, find the entrance to Morgana’s underworld and destroy her on her own ground before the eclipse or evil, with her at its head, will rule. Alex reasons that only his dad, who deserted him and his mom, would know where this is. Dad gave him the storybook about King Arthur years ago.

Louis and Dean with their director on setLouis and Dean with their director on setCourtesy of 20th Century Fox

New Knights

Kaye and Lance see the sword and want it. Alex plunges it into a stone and they can’t get it out…but he can. Lance still wants the sword but when several members of Morgana’s demon army rise aflame and on horseback, Lance and Kaye have to believe. Alex knights them and they run from the demons. After a car chase in which Kaye drives, the new frenemies defeat the demons and realize that they are bound together in this quest. They are off to Cornwall to find Alex’s dad, hoping he will know where the entrance to the underworld is.

Alex and his knights make a discoveryAlex and his knights make a discoveryCourtesy of 20th Century Fox

The Quest

After being given swords and trained to use them, the knights are told by Merlin the rules of chivalry that they must never break or evil and Morgana will win. Basically they are: 1. Hold fast to those you love. 2. Don’t be rude or mean 3. Always speak the truth and 4. Stick with your quest to the end.  At one point, the group nearly breaks up. Alex gives the sword back by throwing it into a pond where legend has it that the Lady of the Lake will guard it. Alex asks her, if we are meant to be together and finish the quest, to return it. A hand rises from the lake and gives it back to Alex. Lance realizes that Alex is the true king and swears allegiance to him…finally.

The kids watch Merlin ready to duplicate ExcaliburThe kids watch Merlin ready to duplicate ExcaliburCourtesy of 20th Century Fox

Learning the Truth

Finally reaching an island where his dad is rumored to be, Alex learns a sad truth. His dad wasn’t kind or heroic. He was a drunk who abandoned his family. It was his mom who gave Alex the book about King Arthur. Shattered, Alex tells his friends and cries. Merlin tells him it doesn’t matter who his parents were. He is the true future king! He knows where Morgana is. The others encourage him. There is one night left until the eclipse. Alex figures out where she is and, after the kids use money duplicated many times by Bedders (who has learned Merlin’s spell), they buy armor and get ponies to ride to the fight. After a battle below, it appears that Alex has defeated Morgana but has he? He has broken one of the rules of chivalry. He has talked angrily at his mom and left her alone to think he might be dead. Will this mean Morgana isn’t dead and will continue her plan? Will it take another battle to defeat her?

Adult Merlin comforts AlexAdult Merlin comforts AlexCourtesy of 20th Century Fox

Wrapping Up

The Kid Who Would Be King is a fun, youth-driven, fantasy-filled actioner in the spirit of the ‘80’s classic The Goonies.  It takes a famous old legend and reinvents it for a young audience. Young actor Louis Ashborne Serkis is the son of famous motion capture actor Andy Serkis of Lord of the Rings and the Planet of the Apes fame and it shows. He is very good as a “nobody” kid who has to take on enormous responsibility and grows into it with grace and good humor. Sidekick actors are also very convincing and actor Angus Imrie plays the young Merlin with great physical and verbal humor.

Director Joe Cornish directs Louis Serkis and Tom TaylorDirector Joe Cornish directs Louis Serkis and Tom TaylorCourtesy of 20th Century Fox

The basic story wanders a bit but contains plenty of CGI-generated action that will keep you interested while you bond with the young cast. The theme that a messed-up world that is “Only as good as its leaders” can be saved by a young, hopeful generation, is really needed in our unstable current climate. We really enjoyed this group of hopeful young knights taking on evil with determination. It’s a formula that works. We give the film 4 stars.

The Kid Who Would Be King Movie Rating: 4

The Kid Who Would Be King Movie PosterThe Kid Who Would Be King Movie PosterCourtesy of 20th Century Fox

See The Kid Who Would Be King in theaters now.

Give Everyone Your Thoughts!

Do you think it’s up to tweens and teens to make our world better? Are you familiar with the legend of King Arthur and his knights? Would you want to lead a kid army against evil? Tell us your feelings below and/or write them down on your Kidzworld profile page!