Robin Hood was everything I expected it to be. The powerhouse combination of Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe will never let me down, I believe. I’m not the only one, either! Robin Hood took second place at the box office for its first weekend, being beaten out only by Iron Man 2.

The previews reminded me very heavily of Gladiator. The camera panning over sprawling scenery, and dramatic battle scenes are present in both films. Even the tag-lines hold a bit of similarity. Robin Hood runs with “Rise and rise again, until lambs become lions” while Gladiator repeats “What we do in life echoes an eternity.” Both statements encourage the speaker to not blithely accept everything that happens in life, but to keep changing and striving for betterment.

The storylines are similar, too. The esteemed soldier falls into disgrace, and has to find his way back to a life he’s comfortable living with. Gladiator’s Maximus is a great general, but is cast aside so a whiny, power-hungry son can become Caesar. Robin Hood’s Robin Longstride is one of the best archers in Richard the Lionheart’s Crusader army, but he not only witnesses the ambush meant to kill the King, he also gains he love of the English people instead of King John. Maximus fills himself with revenge and the goal to kill the person who put him in the gladiator lifestyle, while Robin destroys the system that declared him an outlaw by stealing from the rich and giving back to the poor.

The Lost Boys from Peter Pan also make an appearance. The little brats first make an appearance in the opening scenes by stealing livestock and seeds for the next harvest. They’re just a little menace in the background until the end of the movie. No one really discusses them, but they’re seen multiple times in the Nottingham scene. It isn’t until Wendy… er, Marion marshals them together that they’re explained. They are the orphaned children from Crusader parents. Those orphans have cobbled a life together for themselves that works perfectly for Robin. They hide in the background and live off the land.

This version of Robin Hood definitely isn’t the Disney version with talking foxes, lions, and snakes. It correctly identifies itself as the “story behind the legend.” We see the journey Robin takes from a Crusade soldier dissatisfied with the wars to a man who stands up for the people unable to defend themselves.

Amanda Pachta is an enthusiastic writer and blogs at The Complicated Life.

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