1. Robin Hood: Russell Crowe and Ridley Scott together have compiled all the main ingredients for the Robin Hood “stew”. First, you explain how the story with Robin plus his band of Merry Men gets all the way from the Crusades into Sherwood Forest. That takes the better part of one hour. My one big “beef” with this plot was the time it took to get Robin and his crew into the Forest.
Everyone knows that Robin is the Earl of Locksley. This is another vital element. Everyone knows that Richard the Lionhearted is the “good” king and John is the evil brother. There is the Sheriff of Nottingham, who is always up to no-good. And layered over everything is the love story between Robin and Maid Marian.
In this instance, the fleshing out of the story pays off because Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett work together to craft a believable relationship between two strong characters.
The Merry Men are an aside in this instance, giving the usual storyline a nod and a wink. But the main theme of the story is always the fact that Robin is an outlaw and an altruist at heart. Throw in the conceit of Robin as Master Archer and you concoct a fairly plausible story of “Robin Hood.”
It works, in this instance, even if it does take a tad long to get to the “meat” of the storyline. But this Robin may easily overtake the bastardized Kevin Costner version to find a place in the annals of Robin Hood lore. Not a place quite as high as the gold standard of “Robin Hoods” with Errol Flynn and Basil Rathbone.
Crowe is not a swashbuckling sort of Robin. This is a man with some humility and has his tongue firmly in cheek. The stuff that dreams are made of is found more in the outlandishly overblown performance from a young Errol Flynn. But as Robin Hood’s go, this makes for a pretty good story.