When my usual movie-going partner was offered the chance to see the new Robin Hood her first question was “Who is playing Robin?” When I told her that it was Strathmore’s finest son, Russell “Rusty” Crowe, she declined suggesting somewhat uncharitably that he was probably better suited to playing Friar Tuck (or at a pinch Little John). Her favourite Robin is the 80s be-mulletted Michael Praed from the television. Mine is a toss-up between the “fantastic” sly fox in the 1973 Disney version, John Cleese in Time Bandits and Sean Connery in Robin and Marian, so Rusty and director Ridley Scott had a mountain to climb before the opening credits even rolled.
This new Robin Hood is a prequel (or an origin story in the comic book parlance). On his way back from the Crusades with Richard the Lionheart, Robin Longstocking (sorry, Longstride) heads to Nottingham to return a sword. In Richard’s absence, England has fallen in to financial and political ruin and the French are plotting to fill the void with an army massing off the coast and spies in the court.