The way various films over the decades have handled the tragic tale of King Arthur, Guinevere and Sir Lancelot is an episodic tragedy in itself — from Richard Thorpe‘s workmanlike Knights of the Round Table (’54) to Joshua Logan‘s sugar-coated musical Camelot (’67), from Robert Bresson‘s Lancelot du Lac (’74 — one of the best) to John Boorman‘s Excalibur (’81 – my personal favorite), from Jerry Zucker‘s First Knight (’95 — the first to flaunt modernism in the face of classical tradition) to Antoine Fuqua‘s flat-out shitty King Arthur (’04).

And now the lowest of the low, the ultimate sword in the heart, a King Arthur-vs.-Lancelot flick partially scored by Led Zeppelin (at least in the trailer) and toplined by the leaden, lemme-outta-here presence of Charlie HunnamGuy Ritchie‘s King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (Warner Bros., 5.12).

The influence of Game of Thrones has been all but devastating. We will never again see a big-budget drama about medieval sturm und drang without being poked in the brain by this HBO series.