King Arthur: Legend of the Sword is a 2017 epic fantasy film directed by Guy Ritchie and written by Ritchie, Joby Harold and Lionel Wigram, inspired by Arthurian legends. The film stars Charlie Hunnam as the titular character, with Jude Law, Àstrid Bergès-Frisbey, Djimon Hounsou, Aidan Gillen and Eric Bana in supporting roles.
Mordred, an iron fisted warlock, and his armies lay siege to Camelot, seeking to establish the dominance of magic-wielding mages over humankind. Uther Pendragon, king of the Britons, infiltrates Mordred’s lair and beheads him, destroying his forces and saving Camelot. Later that evening, Uther’s treacherous brother Vortigern, who covets the throne, orchestrates a coup and sacrifices his wife Elsa to sea witches in order to summon a demon knight, who kills Uther’s wife and slays him in combat. The only survivor is Uther’s son, who drifts away in a boat and eventually ends up in Londinium, where he is found and raised by prostitutes, who name him Arthur.
Arthur grows into a skilled fighter and man of the streets, alongside his friends Tristan and Backlack. The three confront a group of Vikings headed by Kjartan, who had mistreated one of the prostitutes, forcing them to pay her a year’s wages for their behavior. Afterwards, the brothel is raided by the Blacklegs, Vortigern’s minions, and Arthur learns that the Vikings were guests of the king and attacking them, therefore, constitutes a crime against him personally. Arthur tries to escape the city, but is caught and put on a ship with hundreds of other men. He learns that a mysterious, magic sword has appeared near Vortigern’s castle, and the Blacklegs have been forcing all men of Arthur’s age to try to pull it from the surrounding stone. When Arthur tries, he pulls the sword out and is quickly overwhelmed by and passes out from the vast power it contains. Vortigern meets with him in the dungeon, revealing his true lineage. Meanwhile, a woman, identifying herself as an acolyte of Merlin, meets with Uther’s former general, Sir Bedivere. She is referred to only as the mage.
At Arthur’s execution, planned by Vortigern, the mage uses her magic to stage a diversion while Percival and Rubio, two of Bedivere’s men, rescue Arthur. Taken to Bedivere’s hideout, Arthur initially refuses to help them, but soon collapses again when he tries to wield the sword. Suspecting that he lacks the willpower to control it, the mage persuades Bedivere to take Arthur to the “Darklands”, the realm where, years earlier, Merlin destroyed Mordred’s tower in defiance of his darkness. It is revealed that Vortigern was responsible for persuading Mordred to rebel against humanity, having grown jealous of Uther’s power. Arthur, having restored the sword’s magic, returns determined to destroy Vortigen for his crimes.