Ireland's Jamie Dornan and Eve Hewson co-star in the $135 million-dollar new bow and arrow caper Robin Hood, released today, November 21.
It's another big franchise film role for Dornan and the world's introduction to Hewson, the daughter of U2 frontman Bono and his wife Ali.
But I'll understand if you're not exactly thrilled by the thought of another big men-in-tights reboot. The story of Robin Hood has already been told in multiple films, cartoons, TV shows and comic books, after all.
And it's endured as long at it has for a good reason: there's still no shortage of real-world ranting sociopaths fleecing the country to enrich themselves, so we will always be on the lookout for big-hearted saviors to push back against them, won't we?
Still, it's dicey stuff. There have been a string of non-too-successful medieval era reboots in recent years, including Guy Ritchie's $175-million debacle "King Arthur: Legend of The Sword."
It's safe to say that director Otto Bathurst and title star Taron Egerton know all about this and so they have concocted an olde worlde story with a 2018 twist they hope will conceal the frayed edges of this hoary old bow and arrows tale with a shiny modern shimmer.
One of the film's main surprises is the casting, it turns out. Alongside Ireland's Jamie Dornan, 36, who plays the community organizer Will Scarlet onscreen, Robin Hood also marks the big-budget debut of actress Eve Hewson, 27, here cast as Maid Marian, the film's main romantic interest.
Hewson fought off 100 other actresses to land the coveted role, which may or may not have been aided by the fact that she's the daughter of U2 frontman Bono and his wife Ali.
I'm not going to suggest that being the daughter of international rock royalty helped but I'm fairly certain it didn't hurt (it certainly aided her search for an agent after graduating from New York's Tisch School of the Arts, where she studied drama).
Originally christened (in grand old rock and roll tradition) Memphis Eve Sunny Day Hewson, her name was eventually abbreviated to Eve when her parents realized she'd be eaten alive on the playground. Hewson is best-known for her impressive turn in the Cinemax TV show "The Knick," where she played a spirited young nurse from Virginia who becomes central to the drama.
But Robin Hood will introduce the actress to the world. Literally, she's the first person we see as the film opens. But this is not your grandparents Maid Marian. In director Bathurst's update, she's a sort of cloaked, ninja warrior come to steal a horse to aid her people.
Almost as soon as she has she broken into the castle she is being swept of her feet by Sir Robin Loxley (played by relative newcomer, screen hunk Taron Egerton) who has caught her in the act but is so bewitched by her beauty that he not only lets her off, he assists her thievery.
Egerton and Hewson have chemistry together but Hewson has miles more of that x-factor thing that so many Irish actors (including Dornan) have too, call it a certain soulfulness. Irish actors are increasingly taking over the top tier of the Hollywood A-List because they can play comedy and tragedy with an ease that puts others to shame.
I would have been first in line to say Hewson's just a poor, little, rich girl who used her dad's famous name to pursue her own dreams of stardom. But the truth, as usual, is a little more complicated.
Although playing the romantic interest in a big-budget action film isn't exactly the most taxing job she could have landed, Hewson emerges as the emotional heart of this film and in doing so she makes it clear she's a star in her own right.
No one will be more relieved to see this than Bono and his wife Ali, I imagine. They warned Eve early on that she wouldn't be taken seriously, that she'd be judged solely on her looks, that there would be spiteful carping in the press about how she got the gig and what that said about her.
They were right about that on all points. But there is one thing that is a proof against all the naysayers: talent. It turns out Eve can act. Not only that, but she has a kind of Pre-Raphaelite beauty that suggest a young Kate Bush and suits her role in this film to no end.
But with so much to prove and so many critics to defang, you have to hand it to her, she has the chutzpah and the skill to carry it off, and she does it in her own Irish accent.
It's just a shame the film itself is really nothing to write home about. Robin Hood has a massive budget and it looks like it does: the sets are stunning, the costumes are fantastic, the action sequences are out of this world but it all feels as formulaic as the recipe for soda bread.
We have seen all of this before a thousand times. First, there's Robin the plucky young hero (Egerton) who resists his destiny. Then there's the near-magical Obi-Wan figure called Little John (Jamie Foxx) who teaches Robin (in an unintentionally homoerotic military training sequence) how to be a better fighter.
Then there's Marion (Hewson) who teaches Robin to see the suffering of the common people and inspires him to do something about it. Groundbreaking, it isn't.
Worse than all that is the scenery-chewing Sheriff of Nottingham (Ben Mendelsohn) who seems to think he's still on the Death Star after his equally scenery-chewing turn in "Star Wars: Rogue One." Mendelsohn makes for a convincing villain, it's just a shame that he seems to belong to a different universe than Robin.
Tonally Robin Hood is a mess. It sends our hero off to the Crusades and films the action sequences there as though they were excerpts from "Operation Desert Storm." The costumes bluntly resemble US Army flack jackets, the arrows explode through walls like live munition, and the white guys face off against men in turbans and scarves in some weird "Aladdin" meets "Assassins Creed" action-movie mashup.
Set in a merry old England (Nottingham to be precise) but actually filmed in Hungary and Croatia, onscreen Robin Hood's villages look like they belong to Tuscany more than a town halfway between Manchester and Birmingham.
The script is really weird too, a hybrid of action movie cliches and surprisingly modern references, to the point that it starts to give you whiplash. I was waiting to see the merry men do the Backpack Kid's floss dance in the end credits. Not a good sign.
Meanwhile, Dornan's been having a remarkable autumn on the big screen. He's starred as a journalist with an Irish accent in "My Dinner With Herve," he's starred as a British war photographer in the well-received and currently-playing "A Private War," and now in "Robin Hood" he's a Nottingham dweller with a Bangor accent (it's never explained what an Irish man is doing there).
Like Hewson, he'll survive to play another day, but I suspect this film will sink deeper than Excalibur by next weekend.
Will you be heading to see "Robin Hood" this Thanksgiving weekend? Let us know what you think in the comments section, below.