You know you have a problem when a film manages to gather such an impressive cast of stars, but still comes out looking like a pile of shit. The Three Musketeers (2011) is very much a pile of shit and it’s an honest shame because the players are all here and the budget isn’t restraining much of the action from unfolding. The real problem is at the core of the production, director Paul W.S. Anderson, a man not known for making great movies, but for making okay movies. He’s made a career off of these subpar films and The Three Musketeers is no exception, despite its spot on casting for the four primary characters. The action is fun when it wants to be and messy when it shouldn’t be. The story makes little sense and logic is nowhere to be found!
Athos (Matthew Macfadyen), Porthos (Ray Stevenson) and Aramis (Luke Evans) are the three Musketeers. Three brave warriors that are willing to fight for any noble cause. They each have their own specialty and when they come together the plan almost always works in perfect order. While our Musketeers are in the middle of an important mission that involves snatching up some secrets for an air craft they get double crossed by the slimy Milady de Winter (Milla Jovovich). She sets them up and takes off with the Duke of Buckingham (Orlando Bloom). This causes the Musketeers to go into a downward spiral resulting in tons of drinking and wasting potential. They quickly become rotting shells of who they once were and it’s not until young D’Artagan (Luke Lerman) that they find their true calling again.
D’Artagan is a cocky young buck set on a journey to become a Musketeer. He runs into all three Musketeers upon his first entrance into France and the rest is history. All four of these individuals are brave, courageous and determined to do good for the people.
Richelieu (Christoph Waltz) is the king’s trusty helping hand who is plotting an evil plan that will cause war all throughout Europe. He is of course working with Milady and hoping to take advantage of the young king by setting up a scandal involving the queen and the Duke. With the Duke and the king going to war it would ultimately lead to Richelieu’s rise to the throne. Once our four Musketeers hear of this treacherous plan they set sail to take back what Milady has stolen from the queen (a necklace) and return it to its rightful owner.
Richelieu sends his soldiers after the Musketeers while the Duke has his soldiers defending a tower which holds the necklace. The Three Musketeers unfolds very quickly leaving little time for the characters to breathe and the story to advance on a level worth watching. Everything happens so fast and carelessly.
There are three key players that really make the unbearable film a little easier to watch. The first and most important player is Logan Lerman, who plays D’Artagan full of charisma and energy. I was getting negative vibes from his character during almost every trailer, but he really does manage to save the film. His character is the only one worth rooting for and the only one given any sort of purpose or cause. He’s constantly trying to prove himself when he really doesn’t have to. He has no problem winning his first big battle and that actually hurts the film, but makes his character kind of interesting. He never has a challenge to face. He has no problem dueling with some of the best warriors in the land and he certainly has no problems charming one of the queens helping hands.
Helping Lerman out is Ray Stevenson and Matthew Macfadyen, who play Porthos and Athos. Stevenson is similar to his character in Thor, but a lot less worried about eating and more worried about drinking. He’s the brute force of the bunch who would rather settle a score with his bare hands than his brain. He manages to be funny and still intimidating. He injects enough humor in The Three Musketeers to make for a few chuckles.
Matthew Macfadyen on the other hand is much more essential. He’s the backbone Musketeer, the one who holds it all together. After being double crossed at the beginning of the film you spend the rest of the film slowly watching his character regain the status of a true Musketeer. Macfadyen is the most suited Musketeer by a long shot, with confidence and depression working hand in hand. His character gets the most development of them all, which isn’t much, but still worth noting.
The absolute worst thing in The Three Musketeers is actress Milla Jovovich who manages to somehow mess up the role of the eye candy. Almost every single line feels out of place and questionable. She must have been filming another movie while everyone else was working because she’s constantly laughing for no reason. The actual character she plays is rotten to the core, double crossing everyone. The main problem is that the double crossing is never furthered. She never shows her desire for gold or money or even power. She seems to just enjoy screwing everyone over for the fun of it. The methods she uses are ridiculous and worthy of a face palm. She’s a gorgeous woman, but that doesn’t excuse her completely from being a waste of space in a film that can’t afford to be having shitty characters like this, but I guess director Paul W.S. Anderson can do whatever he wants, so if his wife wants a paycheck he has to give it to her.
Speaking of Anderson, has the guy ever figured out why his films suck, for the most part? I don’t know why a director would be satisfied with always making okay or decent movies, but never great ones. He’s had a handful of films that I do enjoy, but 90% of them are pure garbage. He gets huge budgets and tons of stars at his disposal, but he continues to throw it away for a few Michael Bay knockoff scenes of explosions and mayhem. At least Bay knows how to play around with fireworks and hot dames. Anderson has ideas for cool sequences, but he ends up cutting them short of shifting focus to something much hokier. I hate when action films like this bounce around from being light and fun to completely fake and downright stupid. Epic sword fights on top of huge air balloon crafts are cool, having Milla Jovovich jump through sharp wire like an acrobatic is idiotic.
At least the swordplay is really fucking cool when it does happen. The first battle with the three, I mean four Musketeers against dozens of guards is light, entertaining and fun. It’s this kind of stuff that should be filling the majority of the film, not Jovovich dodging tons of cannons in a hallway. Anderson knows how to use the camera when it comes to filming an action sequence, he just doesn’t know how to plan the sequence accordingly.
The Three Musketeers (2011) is too messy to really be considered good. The performances by Lerman, Stevenson and Macfadyen are really the only things that shine. The rest of the film is stuck in the mud. Jovovich is completely useless and Bloom and Waltz don’t seem to care about anything. This should be a film in the same vein of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, but its moves way too fast for proper digestion. Not once is there a wrench thrown into the plot to signal danger for our main characters. Everything goes exactly as planned with no surprises. The Three Musketeers (2011) is two hours of talentless filmmaking.
The Three Musketeers (2011) – 6.5/10