You can't discuss Ridley Scott's new take on Robin Hood without the F-word -- formulaic. No, the dreaded adjective isn't just for romantic comedies and teenybopper horror movies anymore; it's also for sweeping, sword-clanging historical action-epics as well. To its credit, Robin Hood has never been told with this particular formula before. To its detriment, Robin Hood is shoehorned into the formula without regard to appropriateness or creativity.
I am happy to report that Robin Hood is not Gladiator II, despite the presence of star Russell Crowe and director Scott; it's Robin Hood by way of Braveheart. He's the rallying hero of the everyman, fighting tyranny on horseback in the name of freedom, and when he's not doing that, he's making chaste advances to the widowed Maid Marion (Cate Blanchett). There's plenty of mud and blood and derring-do, plenty of guys catching arrows through the face or axes to the back, and plenty of talk about taxes and armies and the French. Huzzah.