RATED PG | 5 stars
The trailer for The Kid Who Would Be King seemed like it had been playing for a year before the film actually released. I don’t have anything against kids movies, but I don’t generally have very high expectations for the acting or storyline. After it released, however, I started seeing all these great reviews, and one in particular caught my eye: “Your inner 12-year old will love it!” Well, I have a 12-year old son, so this week, we went to see The Kid Who Would Be King.
The Kid Who Would Be King tells the story of 12-year old Alex (Louis Ashbourne Serkis; son of Andy Serkis), a Bristish school boy who, along with his best friend Bedders, is on the bottom of the social food chain. Their primary bullies are Lance (Tom Taylor; The Dark Tower) and Kaye, two older students at their school.
After standing up against Lance and Kaye on behalf of Bedders, Alex gets chased into town. He hides in an abandoned construction site, and there, he stumbles upon a sword embedded within a concrete block—Excalibur, the legendary sword of King Arthur. Alex pulls the sword free, unknowingly awakening the evil sorceress Morgana (Rebecca Ferguson) who plans to steal Excalibur and overtake the world with her dark undead creatures.
Alex learns that when the sun goes down, these undead creatures are going to come for him. Thankfully, Merlin (Angus Imrie) shows up to help Alex, though he looks like a teenager because “wizards age backwards.” The next evening, Alex and Bedders get cornered by Lance and Kaye. When flaming undead skeletons on horseback rise from the ground, the bullies are forced to help Alex and Bedders fight them off, beginning an unsteady, uncertain kinship between the four of them.
The Kid Who Would Be King is full of good humor, drama, action, and plenty of adventure. Definitely watch it with the mind of a 12-year old because you’ll enjoy it much more that way. 😉 The main themes we discover in this film are the classic good vs. evil and how good will prevail if we allow it. Alex, Bedders, Lance, and Kaye must learn to move past their individual weaknesses so they can fight Morgana’s evil forces together.
Morgana’s tactic to defeat this band of young knights is reminiscient of how our own enemy, Satan, comes after us. 1 Peter 5:8 tells us, “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” He plays on our weaknesses. He twists the truth and whispers affirmation of the lies we believe (John 8:44).
In The Kid Who Would Be King, Alex and Bedders must make allies of their enemies, Lance and Kaye. At one point, Alex says (paraphrase), “Morgana’s turning us against each other to distract us from the real evil that’s coming!” If they’re going to stand any chance against the evil that opposes them, they all must learn to look past the lies they believed about themselves and each other and toward the strength of their friendship, loyalty, and courage to do what’s right.
How true that is for us too! Satan would love to distract believers with arguments against one another and against others so that Jesus’ message of love and forgiveness gets trampled by hatred and anger. We, too, are in a battle against evil, and we, too, must embrace our loyalty, courage, and the strength of Christ within us.
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.” —Ephesians 6:10-13
I loved finding this parallel between the Christian faith journey and The Kid Who Would Be King. Besides having a positive message, this film is pretty squeaky clean. I’ll refer you to the IMDB Parents Guide if you have any content concerns. Some younger viewers might be frightened of the fantasy creatures and fighting, though no blood is ever shown. Also, when Merlin makes his first appearance, he’s stark naked, but thanks to clever filming, it’s perfectly innocent.
My 12-year old son really enjoyed The Kid Who Would Be King, and so did I! It’s hard to find good kid-actors, and I believe all these kids did pretty great. The storyline gives us a lot of fun adventure, laughs, and some little twists, but overall, what I appreciate most is the message that good will prevail and that honoring one another is far more powerful than tearing each other down.
Cat is the web producer and editor of 412teens.org. She loves audiobooks, feeding the people she cares about, and using Christmas lights to illuminate a room. When Catiana is not writing, cooking, or drawing, she enjoys spending time with her two kids, five socially-awkward cats, and her amazing friend-amily.