In Review: The Kid Who Would Be King

Smart modern twist on the myth of King Arthur

Synopsis: When a bullied kid comes across Excalibur, the legendary sword in the stone, he and his friends, as well as his enemies, unite and join the Wizard Merlin to defend England from Morgana and her hoard of undead knights.

Review: Kids fantasy fuses with Arthurian Legend and brings forth a fun tale of quest and honor, but also manages to hold a mirror up to a divided Britain and spin a hopeful tale about coming together.

The Story

When 12 – year old Alex is bullied for trying to defend his best friend from bullies. He comes across Excalibur while running away and finds himself on a quest to befriend his enemies and unite those around him to fend off the evil forces of Morgana. With some help from Merlin, who has a taste for fast food from some Chicken place. Alex, Bedders, Lance, and Kaye learn to trust in one another as they fight for all.

The Acting

The main draw of this movie for me was the fact that Patrick Stewart was in it as the adult Merlin and a fine portrayal he gives too, but truthfully. He only has a handful of scenes, but each and every one of them is important to the story.

Angus Imri as the young Merlin that teaches Alex and his friends about honor and the Knights code.

Playing the younger version of Merlin is Angus Imrie who is definitely an actor to watch out for in the future because he absolutely nails it with the various magical hand gestures and the general eccentricity of an ancient wizard. Let’s not forget that Merlin got younger as he got older. Which is a point cleverly made in this film as the young and old Merlin’s become interchangeable for certain plot points.

Louis Ashbourne Serkis does a marvelous job of portraying Alex who is the films main lead. This young actor is also one to watch. He absolutely nails the intensity of Alex believing in the Arthurian Legend that he and his friends are about to become an extension of.

Rounding out the cast are Dean Chaumoo as Bedders, Tom Taylor as Lance, and Rhianna Dorris as Kaye.


Written and directed by Joe Cornish (Ant-Man, Attack The Block, The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn). ‘The Kid Who Would Be King’ is a fun movie that manages to convey the sense of fun and wonder of 80s classics such as The Goonies and Never Ending Story, but in Britain of the 21st century. There are a few funny lines. But there are also moments of sadness too when Alex learns the true fate of his father, who he has gone out of his way to find to enlist him to help in the fight against Morgana.

Visually the effects are stunning with lots of undead riders and Morgana taking the form of a Dragan. It’s not ‘Lord of the Rings’ or ‘Game of Thrones’ level. But the money is well and truly on the screen and nothing is overdone.

Overall. This is a strong film that very much puts you in the moment of how divided the UK is at present with Brexit but also shows that there is hope and that at the heart of most people there is potential goodness and common ground that can be found. In other words. If a bunch of school kids can figure stuff out in a movie. Then why can’t our bloody politicians not do so in real life?

‘The Kid Who Would Be King’ is available to rent or buy through most online streaming services.

The Kid Who Would Be King
  • Story
  • Acting
  • CGI
  • Incidental Music

Ian Cullen is the founder of and has been a fan of science fiction and fantasy from birth. In the past few years he has written for 'Star Trek' Magazine as well as interviewed numerous comics writers, television producers and actors for the SFP-NOW podcast at: When he is not writing for Ian enjoys playing his guitar, studying music, watching movies and reading his comics. Ian is both the founder and owner of You can contact ian at:
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