The Kid Who Would Be King

Out Now On-Demand

Kids rule.

A 12-year-old in modern-day London stumbles upon fabled sword Excalibur as well as the responsibility to save the world in this family fantasy adventure from the writer and director of Attack the Block.


Directed by

Written by

Action, Adventure, Comedy, Kids & Family, Fantasy, Blockbuster


Rating: PG Violence & scary scenes


Joe Cornish follows up his first feature Attack the Block with a kids’ fantasy adventure, updating the King Arthur story to the streets of modern London. Where the Arthur of legend united a kingdom, the Britain of today is divided, and the fate of the state rests on 12-year-old Alex (played by Andy Serkis’ son, Louis). Bullied at school and friended by few, Alex happens one day upon a sword stuck in a concrete slab. His best mate, sword and sorcery fan Bedders (Dean Chaumoo), reckons it’s Excalibur, and before you can say “magic”, the ancient mage Merlin appears, a sneeze amidst a flurry of feathers heralding his alternate guises of an owl, an eccentric lanky teen (a kooky Angus Imrie), and a potty old sorcerer (played by Patrick Stewart, having a blast, sporting a zany wig and a Led Zeppelin T-shirt).

Alex and a group of young companions are quickly pitched into a quest to defeat King Arthur’s wicked sister, Morgana (Rebecca Ferguson having a ball getting her bad on), and her skeleton guards. Packed with movie nods to Disney’s 1960s version of Arthurian legend, The Sword in the Stone, and Peter Jackson’s Tolkien trilogies, The Kid Who Would Be King is an enjoyable family romp that never takes itself too seriously, outside its core message of unity and how working together we can prevail over the dastardliest foes.

Taking a hint from Spielberg’s family films, Cornish fuses high fantasy and recognisable reality, sidestepping the scary, keeping the action light enough for a family audience in a magical adventure providing just enough CGI, chills, spills, laughs and thrills to keep all ages entertained. The acting from the young cast is energetic enough to almost blind you to the flimsily written characters and clunky plot mechanics of the second act, but the climax delivers a delightfully over-the-top school-based battle, uniting the kids in bashing the bad and showing the grown-ups how it’s done.

Variety (USA)


A likable enough, Amblin-esque update to the classic Arthurian legend...

Hollywood Reporter


A charming family-friendly adventure.

NZ Herald (Adam Fresco)


...the climax delivers a delightfully over-the-top school-based battle, uniting the kids in bashing the bad and showing the grown-ups how it's done (Graeme Tuckett)


As it is, The Kid Who Would Be King is a good-natured alternative to the noise and bombast of a Marvel or DC style superhero adventure. If I was about 9 years old today, it might just have been the best film I'd seen all week.

FilmInk (Australia)


...offers plenty of delights but doesn't quite package them together in a way that is wholly satisfying...

Screen International


It's the type of film that cheering kids will want to re-watch, re-live and play-act, bearing well for post-theatrical streaming and home-release prospects.



It's good that there's a film like The Kid Who Would Be King for pre-teens who not only want to go on a fun quest, but will feel ready to take on a divided world as a result.

Washington Post


Do the Middle Ages hold the key to saving the world? "The Kid Who Would Be King" suggests so.