The Three Musketeers: D’Artagnan Review

Originally Les trois mousquetaires: D’Artagnan. This seems to be an attempt to start a series of films, as the next movie (Milady) is already set to be released later this year.

First time I found myself alone in a theater, watching a movie, was Raid 2 back in the day. Here I think they just missed the mark by having to many screenings, as the audience is quite limited. Next time it was Nocturnal Animals. There was actually two of us in the beginning, but the other person left at around 40 minute mark, when the movie apparently got too rough for her. The third time was W, which sadly was easy to predict, as the movie is just too weird for most audiences. So, this was the fourth time I was alone in the theater and I’m pretty surprised. Although, one could argue that the usual crowd that would see a movie in this particular art house, might not be interested in action, and the crowd that is interested in action, might not be interested in lower budgeted European productions, even though we have been used to subtitles since childhood.

Having seen many versions of this in the past and having read the book ages ago, I still can’t really say how well this follows the original storyline, because I just don’t remember. According to critics, this is faithful to the original, but I don’t see that as necessarily a good thing, nor do I agree, as even I can see differences. The fact that they are trying to make a series out of this seems to be a hindrance, as this movie did not have a very satisfying ending, but that was not the only problem.

First, d’Artagnan is just a boring character. He is just one dimensional in this movie. He is a good guy, who is competent in what he does and immediately falls in love with his designated love interest, who is – appropriately – single, even though the same character was married in the original. There is just no depth to d’Artagnan and his conflict from the book seems to have been completely removed. (I mean character conflict, not like a physical conflict.)

I guess you can’t really expect too much from a heroic character from mid-19th century, but perhaps these 21st century takes should be a little better considering that Stan Lee already tried his best to force heroes to have at least two dimensions. You don’t have to be faithful to the source material. Adapting is okay.

Probably for the same reason, the movie seems to have a hard time trying to find an identity. Early on it seems almost like John Wick from the 17th century, but then it turns into a murder mystery for a second, then political thriller and there’s some romantic elements, but all of these are fleeting and not in a good way.

Gladly, the actual three musketeers are good. They aren’t masterpieces of character building or anything, but at least they have those aforementioned two dimensions, although I don’t think you should count Porthos’s bisexuality as a character trait. I guess his sense of humour and the attempt to be the class clown has to suffice. At least Athos has his past to regret and Aramis has his innner conflict of being a womanizer, targetting married women, and his religion.

The best character, of course, is Milady, played by Eva Green. She lacks in martial prowess, so she has to make up for that with cunning and using her looks. And she is a worthy adversary. Just the fact that the next movie is named after her makes it that much more interesting to me. I’m not sure I would be planning on seeing it, if it ever arrives in theaters here (considering that I was the only one at the screening, makes it somewhat unlikely).

The ending of the movie shows the limitations of these kinds of movie series. The climax is just chaotic and short. If you were looking for action, it will not be very satisfactory. If you were looking for political intrigue, it would be even less so. The movie doesn’t work on it’s own. It feels like the first episode of a miniseries, but you can’t see the next episode next week. Instead the next installment will be out in six months, so that you have already forgotten everything.

I can’t really recommend this. Maybe, if you are interested in the Milady character, but otherwise the movie feels just too calculated and missing a vision. I mean, it’s okay, but since for most people it being a French movie means that you have to make an effort to see it, I don’t think tha effort is worth it.

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