I think, like most of you, I have fond memories of Brian Adams singing "Everything I Do" as Kevin Costner slowly descends from a tree house with his Maid Marion in his arms. I was a little concerned how this reboot of the classic story would confound my personal canon. I came open minded and I was pleasantly surprised at how well the story unfolded. The heart of this movie really lies in the period toward the end of the Crusade and Robin Lonsgstide's (Russell Crowe) home coming and the events and lead him to become Robin Hood.
Character growth is slow and most of the focus is put on character depth. You begin to really understand the thoughts and feeling of the main characters, yet leaving the character of some of the others to be developed and explored later. The goal appears to be to make this movie the first part of a new franchise. It really had the feel of the first act of a play. Robin's companions of Little John (Kevin Durand), Will Scarlet (Scott Grimes), and Allan A'Dayle (Alan Doyle), leave a lot to be revealed in later releases. Grimes is a great fit for Scarlet who played Sgt. Donald Malarkey in HBO's "Band of Brothers."
The movie begins in ways like you are used to with Robin in the tail end of a Crusade led by King Richard (Danny Huston). Then the movie takes a hard left and I thought someone had changed reels on us. Towards the climax of the movie I thought that the story seemed so far off the other Robin Hood movies I had seen it seemed they had just slapped the Robin Hood name tag on there to get some attention. Similar to how all the posters and ads try to make sure you know Ridely Scott also directed "Gladiator." But this story line change compared to if someone made a remake of the "Conan the Destroyer" where Conan tried to work out his issues with crazy cultists with diplomacy and lavish gifts of soaps and cheese. Then at the denouement, as the movie is wrapping everything up in a nice bow (redundant I know), the story we know and love falls into line and we see how Robin and his Merry Men came to be outlaws and freedom fighters.
Robin Hood fits in it's PG-13 niche very nicely. There is some sexual content that is used to set up the despicable nature of Prince John (Oscar Isaac) and a quick flash of boobage that would make a Bishop blush. Foul language is no where to be seen in the realm, but there are a few scenes of drunken merry making with wenches and revelry. There are some great battle scenes that look real, but don't have the gore and graphic close ups via "Braveheart." The camaraderie of Robin's men make it a great flick to use as an Elder Quorum team building activity.