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Although not in the league of bracing adult fare like John Boorman’s Excalibur (1981), this child-centric update of Arthurian lore outclasses Guy Ritchie’s King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (2017) by relying more on heart than bombastic CGI. That could be due in part to writer-director Joe Cornish’s tighter budget, but it works in his favor: the movie has the freshness, innocence, and energy of youngsters on the threshold of adulthood, embarked on a grand heroic adventure. A bullied schoolboy (Louis Ashbourne Serkis) hides from his tormentors (Tom Taylor, Rhianna Dorris) in a construction site, where he pulls a sword out of a concrete block. His action unleashes an army of fiery horsemen from hell, emissaries of the sorceress Morgana (Rebecca Ferguson), the mythic King Arthur’s evil half sister. A powerful wizard (Angus Imrie), the younger incarnation of Morgana’s nemesis Merlin (Patrick Stewart), schools the child in self-defense and leadership, and provides goofball comic relief. With Dean Chaumoo and Denise Gough.