Reel Reviews: Origin stories

By on January 30, 2019

“The Kid Who Would Be King” stars Sir Patrick Stewart and Louis Ashbourne Serkis. Reviewer Michael Upton says: “I’ll stop just short of calling this movie an instant classic, but there are children out there who are going to carry this movie with them for the rest of their lives into adulthood.” (Image from


‘The Kid Who Would Be King’

It was a rough weekend for one of my favorite production companies, Working Title Films (“Les Misérables,” “The Big Lebowski,” “Fargo”). Both “Mary Queen of Scots” and “The Kid Who Would Be King” are Working Title movies. Margot Robbie, “Mary Queen of Scots,” lost a SAG award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role to Emily Blunt (“A Quiet Place”). And “The Kid Who Would Be King” opened at a miserable fourth place at the box office (earning a paltry $7.25 million) during a week of equally weak offerings.

It is a shame. I blame a less than stellar teaser preview and an almost non-existent marketing plan for the lack of interest. All the kids I talked to were excited about this movie. And I’ll stop just short of calling this movie an instant classic, but there are children out there who are going to carry this movie with them for the rest of their lives — like some of carry “Goonies” or “The Sandlot” — into adulthood.

Our hero is Alex (Louis Ashbourne Serkis), a good kid who has had enough with a pair of bullies in his English prep school. The bullies, Lance (Tom Taylor) and Kaye (Rhianna Dorris), have set their sights on Alex’s best mate, Bedders (Dean Chaumoo), and when Alex is forced to flee their chase after school the fatherless Alex stumbles upon Excalibur. The discovery of the sword is followed quickly by the appearance of Young Merlin (Angus Imrie); Old Merlin is played by the venerable Sir Patrick Stewart.

This modern take on a classic tale leads the four characters on a quest to discover more about themselves (and the truth about Alex’s father) and the world they live in while denying the evil Morgana (Rebecca Ferguson, “Mission: Impossible ­ Rogue Nation”) from turning Earth into a dark and miserable mess.

I liked this movie much more than I expected I would. From the trailers it seemed like a fairy tale cash-grab to me, but it turned out to be a good, decent, film I was glad to share with my 9-year old son. It is a shame a movie like this did not attract more interest at the box office.


And while we are talking about the box office. “Glass,” the third installment in M. Knight Shyamalan’s superhero storyline many of us saw coming as far back as “Unbreakable” (2000), maintained a two-week run at number one in the box office by holding off “The Upside” and “Aquaman.”

Set up as the climactic clash between Mr. Glass (Samuel L. Jackson), The Overseer (Bruce Willis), and The Beast (James McAvoy), “Glass” puts all three of the characters together in an insane asylum at the hands of Dr. Ellie Staple (Sarah Paulson). But, just as one should expect from a Shyamalan film not all is as it seems.

He’s done it again. Shyamalan has somehow managed to both utterly tick me off and leave me wanting more in the same movie. Our love-hate relationship continues.

Spoiler: For those who have seen the movie, we now know all three films were simply an origin story. So, what is next? Is the beginning simply the end of MKS Universe?

“I don’t want to relive stuff and I don’t want to be an opportunist; that’s not the relationship that I have with the audience,” Shyamalan said about a fourth film in an interview with Digital Spy last year. I have to wonder if he changed his mind since then.

Agree or disagree? Reel Reviews works like this: 1) Watch a movie; 2) Send suggestions, comments and criticism to Michael at

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