The Kid Who Would be King is a modern version of The Sword in the Stone. For those who don’t know that famous King Arthur fable, it is the story of King Arthur, then an orphaned child and the wizard, Merlin, who knows Arthur’s destiny. In this modern adaptation Alex (Louis Serkis), a young boy living in modern day England, is King Arthur’s heir, a fact he is at first unaware of and then denies. As in the King Arthur stories, Alex gathers his knights of the round table, in this case a makeshift group of teenage boys and one girl. Led by the wizard Merlin (Patrick Stewart), Alex and his knights must defeat Morgana (Rebecca Ferguson), a demonic queen who desires Alex’s sword, Excalibur, and intends to enslave the human race.
The Kid Who Would Be King takes a new perspective on an old fable. Instead of medieval England, The Kid Who Would be King is set in current day England, with knights equipped with cell phones and energized by fast food. Alex is not an orphan, but instead is being raised by a single mom. The modern setting and details make this version of the Sword in the Stone accessible to a younger audience. Those familiar with the tales of King Arthur will see how The Kid Who Would be King picks up the story, and will enjoy the updated version, but audiences unfamiliar with Arthurian legends will easily follow the plot and also enjoy the story. This is particularly true because the movie adds new details to the original story that would appeal to a younger, modern viewer. Alex and his knights learn many of their skills from video games, and are baffled by Merlin’s reliance on the code of chivalry. Alex and his best friend, Bedders, have to deal with bullying at school, and Merlin’s food preferences are abnormal, but very funny, and might encourage some audience members to reconsider their post-movie trip to Chick-Fil-A.
The Kid Who Would be King is rated PG and has a two hour running time. It is appropriate for all audiences over ten. Younger viewers will probably be scared by some of the scenes involving Morgana and her zombie soldiers. The positive messages about bravery, loyalty, and community, are much more of a takeaway from this movie than the minimal violence and scary moments.